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Dragonfly Dreamtime - April 13, 2012 - St. Croix Courier

posted Aug 24, 2012, 6:55 PM by Dragonfly Centre for Autism Inc

Dragonfly Dreamtime

Every year, Autism organizations around the world celebrate World Autism Awareness Day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events, bringing the world's attention to autism; a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The aim of World Autism Awareness Day is to raise awareness of Autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, World Autism Awareness Day celebrates the unique talents and skills of people with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the world.

The fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated at the Dragonfly Centre, St Stephen on April 2nd, 2012 and was a huge success in raising awareness of Autism across Charlotte County.  56 people visited the centre during the day consisting of families, professionals and both young people and adults with Autism. We were delighted to see so many people taking such an interest in Autism, learning about the condition and gaining advice from our Autism therapists. Visitors also had a chance to make donations through a bake sale and our young visitors enjoyed colouring World Autism Awareness day posters and making some vibrant wooden dragonflies. $238 was raised from the day through the bake sale and very kind donations which will go towards much needed equipment for the centre and resources for parents and professionals.

Why was the day so important?

The main thing that people lack when they first come into contact with people with autism, or first discover the signs of the condition, is knowledge. Knowledge is the key to understanding, accepting, treatment, happiness and building better futures for young people and adults with Autism.

Autism was once considered a rare disorder but at the end of March 2012 ,the Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring (ADDM) Network announcedExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer. that the prevalence is now about 1 in 88 children. Unfortunately we are still not much closer to finding the cause of Autism or a cure, however, these figures show us that with a prevalence rate 78% higher than 10 years ago, it is becoming more common for people either have a friend or relative with autism or have met someone with autism in the shops, at work or on the street.  Without some knowledge of autism, you will not understand that their exhibited behaviour, actions or attitude isn’t because a young person or adult with autism is intentionally being rude, defiant or inappropriate; it is because of the difficulties associated with their condition.

The autism spectrum is complex , very broad and ranges from severe autism, where the child never learns to speak, to mild Asperger syndrome where the child has no obvious speech delay. The spectrum is continuous, ranging from a person who needs lifetime help with basic living skills to a college professor.  In fact many theories are that we are all somewhere on the spectrum  but people with autism have more significant needs.

The best way to understand Autism is learning about the triad of impairments which can include; an Impairment in Social Interaction - Getting on with other people, social communication – both verbal and non verbal communication and Social imagination- Flexibility and rigidity of thought process.

In our next article we will look further into each triad of impairment, looking at how it affects someone with autism and sharing some interesting facts to help you understand the condition

Autism Facts

·         While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people's lives

·         Autism is found in every county, every ethnic group and every socioeconomic class

·         Autism is diagnosed 4 times as often in boys than girls

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