How to get involved in Autism Awareness Day 2022

What is Autism?

The United Nations defines autism as ‘a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status.’ (United Nations, 2022).

We often hear the words “autism spectrum” - but not everyone has a full understanding of what this means. Individuals on the autism spectrum are all unique, but often share a range of traits characterised by ‘unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information. (United Nations 2022).

Why should I be educated about Autism?

It would be nearly impossible to go through your life without encountering someone who is on the autism spectrum. In Australia, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 100 people have Autism. In 2018 there were 205,200 Australians with Autism, a 25.1% increase from the 164,000 in 2015 (Source: ABS SDAC 2018– Autism in Australia). This means that in a year level of 300 children, statistically there will be at least three kids (if not more!) on the autism spectrum. Therefore, it is important that everyone has an awareness and understanding of people on the autism spectrum so that we can foster inclusivity in our community.

What is World Autism Awareness Day?

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2nd April as ‘World Autism Awareness Day,’ while many organisations have declared April as “Autism Awareness Month.” These campaigns were created to highlight the world’s need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism. Inclusivity and respect are basic human rights. Educating the community about autism will lead to a society where children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives without experiencing stigma or discrimination.

Autism Awareness Day 2022

How can I get involved in World Autism Awareness Day in Australia?

Get educated about Autism

The United Nations is hosting a free online virtual event on April 8th 2022 called “Inclusive Quality Education for all”. The 75 minute event will explore ways to promote inclusive education strategies for primary and secondary school students with autism. This event may be especially helpful for parents, teachers and integration staff in schools. To register for the event, click here.

Hoodie Up for Autism

Amaze is once again hosting the community event “Hoodie Up” - where you can raise funds and show your understanding, acceptance and support for autistic people.

Why hoodies? Some autistic people experience sensory sensitivities and can become overloaded by stimuli in their environment; wearing their hoodie up means they can block out bright lights and busy environments which helps calm them. By putting our hoodies up on April 2nd, we’re showing a little more understanding of how we can support and embrace autistic people and celebrate the diversity autism brings to our world. Funds raised through Hoodie Up will help deliver vital support to autistic people and their families, including Amaze’s work to create a more autism-friendly Victoria. 

For more information on how you, your school or business can get involved in #hoodyup, click here.

Amaze Hoodie Up for Autism Day

Source: Amaze

Walk for Autism Challenge

Walk for autism is a free online walking event, which means you walk anywhere, at any time, in any place. Challenge yourself to walk 10,000 steps a day for 8 days (Sunday 27th March – Sunday 3rd April), while raising much-needed funds to support children and adults on the autism spectrum. Hosted by Walk for Autism and Autism Spectrum Australia, the walk for autism challenge will get you active while helping to provide the best opportunities for people on the autism spectrum to participate, engage and thrive in the world around them. To register for the walk for autism challenge, click here.

walk for autism 2022

Light it up Blue for Autism

On April 2nd, in honor of World Autism Awareness Day, supporters around the globe are encouraged to wear blue and light up their homes or businesses blue to help increase understanding and acceptance for people with autism. The social media hashtag #lightItUpBlue has been created by Autism Speaks – find out more information with how to get involved here.

No time to participate? Then Donate!

Autism Awareness is an Australian organisation established in 2008. Autism Awareness runs campaigns and events which have reached millions of Australians, delivering the majority of their programs free of charge across the country, including rural and regional communities. You can make a tax deductible donation to Autism Awareness to help them continue to deliver information and support to Australians on the autism spectrum and their families. For further information on how to donate, click here.

Support a friend or family member

Having a child or family member on the autism spectrum can be highly rewarding while also having times of isolation, challenge and frustration. Reach out to a friend or family member - have a chat on the phone, take them for a coffee or go for a walk, and give them an opportunity to talk to you about it. Let them know that you are there to provide them with support and to listen.

the sensory specialist australia

This article was written by Sarah James, psychology teacher, mother of two and owner of the NDIS Registered business, The Sensory Specialist. Sarah has spent her over a decade educating, working with and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum.

Reference source: United Nations 2022, World Autism Awareness Day, viewed 22/03/2022, <https://www.un.org/en/observances/autism-day/background>