Autism Awareness / Understanding Day 2023 - Events
Sunday 2nd April 2023 is World Autism Awareness Day.
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. Did you know that an estimated 1 in 70 people living in Australia are on the Autism spectrum? (Autism Spectrum Org, 2023).
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.
Many organisations and autism advocate groups are asking for the name to be changed to Autism Understanding Day.
How can I get involved in World Autism Understanding Day in Australia?
Spread the Word -
We don’t want to just spread awareness … we need to create more understanding, acknowledgement and acceptance. You can start by acknowledging World Autism Understanding Day on your socials, with the hashtag: #WAUD2023
Local events in Melbourne:
Keely's Cause: Charity Golf Day: Wear Fluro for Neuro
Melton Valley Golf Club - April 2nd
Lot’s of cool activities, dress up in Fluro on the Day as we bring awareness to other neuro diverse conditions that impact on children’s learning there will also be a raffle and silent auction and prizes for the winning teams. Head here for more information.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre
will be hosting low sensory mornings in conjunction with Autism Awareness Day: 1st April 2023.
attraction in an environment tailored to their needs. Head here for more information
Boroondara Youth Hub: Level 1, 360 Burwood Road Hawthorn VIC 3122
Wed 5th April 2023, 4pm - 5pm. FREE EVENT
Visit the Youth Hub to join in sensory friendly activities including slow yoga sessions for young people who are neurodiverse.
Support person welcome. For young people aged 10 to 25 years.
Balwyn Libary - 336 Whitehorse Road Balwyn VIC 3103
Monday 3rd April 2023, 11am-12pm FREE EVENT
Calm Storytime: World Autism Awareness Day
Join a special calm-themed storytime as we support understanding and diversity of children on the autism spectrum for World Autism Awareness Day. During the session we will use tools such as a schedule board, low lighting and breakout spaces.
A representative from Amaze, Victoria's peak body for autistic people and their supporters, will attend the session to answer questions from children and families.
Hoodie Up for Autism 2023
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 #hoodieup, click here.
Walk for Autism Challenge 2023
Walk for autism challenges Australians to walk 10,000 steps a day for eight days, or they can “Double their Challenge” and walk 10,000 steps a day for 16 days, starting on March 25th 2023. There is no set event or location — that means our participants can walk anywhere, at any time, in any place, all while raising much-needed funds to support children and adults on the autism spectrum. To register for the walk for autism challenge, click 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.
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.