Autism Awareness Day at MEDUCOM!
Today is World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD)! Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social and communication skills along with restricted, repetitive behaviours. Each ASD diagnosis is unique and each individual diagnosed with ASD has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. In 2008, the United Nations designated April 2nd as WAAD and has since made significant strides in awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity. This is evidenced by widespread support for initiatives such as Autism Speaks’ #LightItUpBlue campaign. However, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) still remains subject to many misconceptions such as:
Myth: “Vaccines cause autism.”
Truth: While the study published by Andrew Wakefield in 1997 caused widespread fear that vaccines may cause autism, the study has been completely discredited on numerous accounts.
Myth: “Autism is a childhood disorder that only affects behaviour.”
Truth: Children with autism grow up to become adults with autism. Further, many individuals with autism have co-occurring conditions such as epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders and anxiety.
Myth: “People with autism can’t feel or express any emotion.”
Truth: Autism does not make an individual unable to feel emotions. It simply causes them to perceive and communicate their emotions in different ways.
At MEDUCOM, we took this day as an opportunity to test our knowledge and debunk myths surrounding ASD in order to spread informed awareness of ASD in our communities.