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Autism Awareness | Understanding Day | Month 2024 Australia Events

Tuesday 2nd April 2024 is World Autism Understanding 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 in 2024?

Spread the Word - The Power of Social Media

Sharing information about Autism Month on social media. 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: #WAUD2024

60 a day for Autism SA

Join Autism SA in celebrating 60 years of service to the South Australian community by taking part in their fundraising fitness challenge. You can choose to do 60 of either push-ups, sit-ups, squats, crunches, burpees, lunges or a combo of all, each day for the month of April. Challenge yourself to do 60 a day and invite your friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you. Together you’ll be raising funds to support autistic South Australians to live the life they choose in an inclusive society. Click here to find out more.

Become a #AmbassadorForAutism 2024

Autism Awareness Australia has announced their ‘#AmbassadorsForAutism’ campaign is back this April for Autism Awareness Month, and they're celebrating all Australians on the autism spectrum and the people that love and care for them.

Throughout the month of April Autism Awareness Australia will be showcasing the beautiful diversity of autistic individuals, along with recognising the people that love, care for and support the autism community. Whether you’re an autistic individual, parent / carer, sibling, family member, educator, support worker, employer or health care professional, they want to hear why you’re an #AmbassadorForAutism and how you encourage broader acceptance and inclusion of autism in the community.

This year, they're also running a special giveaway as part of this campaign, with every submission going in the draw to win a trampoline from Springfree Trampoline!

Whoever you are, whatever your story, they want to hear from you! Submit your photo from April 2nd (World Autism Awareness Day) along with answers to some quick questions for a chance to be featured in this year’s campaign. Head to this link for further information.

Aspect AUD24

Register your interest with Aspect to obtain a 2024 partnership pack (a whole bunch of free resources including social media tiles, posters and a virtual meeting background).

Autism Awareness events in WA:

On Tuesday the 2nd of April the WA government are partnering with buildings and landmarks across Western Australia to light up our State in a spectrum of colour – signifying that we are a diverse community where everyone is valued and has something to contribute.

More than 30 buildings and landmarks across metro and regional WA are taking part in this year’s Light Up the Spectrum. Join us in igniting change for Autism by visiting your closest landmarks and sharing a photo on social media using the hashtag #LightUpTheSpectrum!

Enter the Light Up the Spectrum photo competition!  For more information click here.

Join the Aspect "Walk for Autism Challenge."

Walk 7k steps a day this May for the 70% of Autistic people who experience mental health issues. You can walk solo or in a team with your workplace, friends, family or school. And every step you take, along with every dollar you raise will help create an autism-friendly world. A world where Autistic people feel comfortable and free to be their authentic selves. For more information click here.

Walk for autism : Home

Hoodie Up for Autism 2024

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.

Amaze Hoodie Up for Autism Day

Source: Amaze 

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.