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ABC’s of your Health: April is National Autism Awareness Month

Autism Speaks pledged badge.
Autism Speaks pledged badge. AutismSpeaks.org

The month of April is designated as National Autism Awareness Month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

And April 2 is recognized internationally as World Autism Awareness Day to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder throughout the world.

On this day the international community, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world, light blue in recognition of people living with autism.

The organization Autism Speaks is inviting friends and neighbors around the world to come together to pledge to go blue to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism. To make the pledge visit: www.autismspeaks.org

Autism Speaks in Northern California serves communities in the Greater Bay Area and the Central Valley by promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Contact them at (209) 445-4900 or by email: northerncalifornia@autismspeaks.org

Once you take the pledge, there are many ways to spread understanding and acceptance this April and Autism Speaks shared some ways:

▪ Share Blue: Tell your friends you took the pledge and share photos with #LightItUpBlue hashtag

▪ Wear Blue: Show your pride on April 2 and all month long. You can also ask family, friends, coworkers, and staff to wear blue - t-shirts, ties, scarves, etc or a autism lapel pins, bracelets, etc.

▪ Give Green: Donate to help do more good for more people touched by autism.

▪ Raise Green: Start a Facebook Fundraiser to invite friends to lend their support.

According to Autism Speaks, autism spectrum disorder affects more than 70 million people worldwide.

According to CDC, one in 59 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism.

Autism Speaks is holding several walks in April including the Bay Area and Los Ángeles. The Central Valley Walk in Modesto won’t take place until Fall of this year however you can start registering for the walk either by starting a team or joining a team or just by registering as an individual.

Other events in the Valley during Autism Awareness Month:

▪ The Fresno Grizzlies will host Strike Out Autism night on April 5 with a pregame parade, player meet and greet and complimentary grizzlies hat. Tickets are $15.

▪ The California Autism Center and Learning Group is hosting its fourth annual ‘Big Blue Block Party’ on April 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1630 E. Shaw Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

▪ Autism Speaks is also hosting several sensory-friendly events across the U.S to see the Easter Bunny. Here is the Valley the event will take place on Sunday, April 7 in Stockton at the Weberston Mall. Reservations are limited, visit weberstown.com/sensitive-bunny

CDC provides essential data on ASD, search for factors that put children at risk for ASD and possible causes, and develop resources that help identify children with ASD as early as possible.

Autism Resources

▪ Autism Speaks: www.autismspeaks.org

▪ Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782, @TuValleTuSalud

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