The month of April is Autism Awareness month and today, April 2, is World
Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). Adopted by the United Nations in 2007, WAAD
is meant to “shine a light on” autism through efforts like
Light it Up Blue campaign. Thousands of landmarks, businesses, and people will be united by the
Although World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month are powered
by good intentions, it’s important to remember what Autism really
is. According to a
Washington Post article written by Kim Stagliano, a mother of three autistic daughters, celebratory
campaigns like Light it Up Blue condense the struggle of families living
with autism into something too simplistic - something that “implies
autism is a party, rather than a crisis.”
In her article, Stagliano discusses her life and the tremendous difficulties
of raising three daughters with autism. She also expresses her discontent
with Autism Awareness Month and Autism Awareness Day. As many feel, the
fleeting thoughts most people give to Autism during these times don’t
paint a true picture of the disorder.
For Stagliano, awareness campaigns fail to capture the true depth of challenges
autistic children and adults must face, as well as the profound and life-changing
experiences of families who must provide them daily living assistance
and long-term support. They can also create a tone that detracts from
the bleak realities of autism, including the reality that when parents
pass, strangers will be tasked with providing this support. For Stagliano
and for many others, these campaigns simply fail to make people think
in ways that will influence change.
Stagliano states it best when she says awareness campaigns suggest we should
celebrate the circumstances autism creates rather than stimulate thought
about the somber realities and challenges, and ultimately provoke change.
For her, April “should be a month of solemn acknowledgement and
education about a global crisis.”
For Braverman Reproductive Immunology, this solemn acknowledgement is what
motivates us to find ways to prevent autism. As such, we are investigating:
- Whether autism can be prevented by treating immune-related issues during
- Whether we can identify babies most susceptible to inflammatory responses
from mothers with known (or as yet unknown) underlying autoimmune issues.
During Autism Awareness Month, we’d like to invite you to
get educated on autism and to learn more about the efforts being made to prevent this disorder.
Feel free to browse our website, visit our blog, or join our discussion
forum to learn more.