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  • April 2010
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Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. To kick it off, Autism Speaks sponsored “Light it up Blue” Day on April 1st.  Autism Speaks and other non-profit groups are spending every April getting the word out.

So what exactly is autism?  It can get a little confusing, because ‘autism’ is used to refer to a number of similar conditions under the Austism Spectrum Disorder umbrella.  People affected by autism can have very mild or very austere and oppressive symptoms.  Some of the specific disorders under this umbrella include Classic Autism, Asberger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, also known as Atypical Autism.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in almost all cases, autism causes problems in the following areas:

  • Communication – both verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (unspoken, such as pointing, eye contact, and smiling)
  • Social – such as sharing emotions, understanding how others think and feel, and holding a conversation
  • Routines or repetitive behaviors (also called stereotyped behaviors) – such as repeating words or actions, obsessively following routines or schedules, and playing in repetitive ways.

There are no known causes for autism.  We do know that it now affects 1 in every 100 births, according to the Autism Society of America.

How can you participate in Autism Awareness month?

You can find great introductory resources on the web, to start learning more about this disorder.  Medline Plus is a free resource from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health.  It’s page on Autism includes links to overviews, research, reference, and resources specifically for teens and children.

Also, the library have a plethora of resources about autism.  Here a few books to get you started:

Growing Up on the Spectrum: a Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger’s by Lynn Kern Koegel and Claire LaZebnik

A renowned autism expert collaborates with a parent of an autistic teenager in this guide to helping teens with autism. Addressing issues from a changing body to how to succeed in college, this inspiring volume offers hope and wisdom for parents, therapists, and educators.

Voices of Autism : The Healing  Companion : Stories for Courage, Comfort and Strength , Edited by The Healing Project.

This anthology includes writers with autism, and writers who are friends and family members of autistic people.  Teens and adults address all the ways that autism has affected their lives.

Episodes: My Life as I See It, by Blaze Ginsberg.

Blaze writes a memoir about growing up with autism, and shares how he grew to make sense of the world around him.

Stop by and ask us for more resources, we are happy to help!



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