What is Autism?
Autism is a general term for a group of complex brain disorders that carry the following traits:
1 in every 88 children in the US are diagnosed with autism.
Autism roughly strikes boys 4 times more often than girls.
Autism is a life-long disability for many individuals.
Autism is now more common that Down Syndrome, Mental Retardation, and Cystic Fibrosis combined.
And the most important fact is that autism affects each individual in a different way, making it very hard to detect in some people.
It is not, in fact, the ability to ‘beat’ Vegas, win Jeopardy, memorize baseball statistics (and everything else) while possessing almost zero social skills like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. In reality autism is a spectrum (hence Autism Spectrum Disorder) where individuals come in a wide variety (you can find a lengthy list of common traits here), which makes everyone with autism atypical and impossible to portray in a single film’s depiction (although Hoffman’s performance is applauded by many in the autism field with being a great performance).
Thankfully, it’s a problem that is not completely ignored—a handful of autism support organizations are working dutifully in the hopes of curing and preventing this condition while at the same time supporting those individuals and families who need it. Today is World Autism Awareness Day, so take a moment to pay attention to those trying to cure the disorder and help those that have it.
Talk About Curing Autism
Founded in 2000 by Lisa Ackerman, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) started as a parent support group for families raising autistic children in Southern California. It has now grown to a giant support system of over 30,000 families with chapters in 18 states. With programs featuring a hotline for parents, live chat sessions, Parent Mentor programs, and several autism educational events TACA is a leading resource for families caring for autistic individuals. They also have created an informative video to help families (or friends of families) who have recently had a child diagnosed with autism that can be viewed on this page. Interested in sending some of your Socialvest dollars to TACA? You can do it here.
Autism Society of America
As the founders of National Autism Awareness Month (April), the Autism Society of America is the respected veteran in the autistic organization world. In addition to large awareness campaigns like the aforementioned Autism Awareness Month, and the Autism Puzzle Ribbon, The Autism Society of America is one of the largest supporters of autism research. They have also spearheaded numerous state and federal legislation supporting individuals with autism. Their hotline, 1-800-3Autism, serves as one of the most comprehensive referral and information channels in the nation. Want to help The Autism Society of America with some of your Socialvest bucks? Click here and give, give away.
Popping on the scene in 2005, Autism Speaks is a relatively new comer on the autistic support scene, but they have arrived in a big way. They are currently the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. In addition to the large research support they also have launched several very successful awareness campaigns. The most recognizable being their Light It Up Blue campaign which was able to light everything from the Empire State Building to the Sydney Opera House in their signature blue. They have also created a 100 Day Kit, that is made specifically for newly diagnosed families to make the best possible use of the 100 days following their child’s diagnosis of autism. You can receive the 100 Day Kit here. Another awesome cause that you can donate your Socialvest funds to by clicking right here.