No more blues. Go colourful for autism, this World Autism Awareness Day
Aspect is celebrating World Autism Awareness Day, Thursday April 2nd, in solidarity with the millions affected by Autism
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is moving beyond the traditional ‘blue for autism’ focus, urging Australians to celebrate the diversity and difference within the autism community by instead wearing a spectrum of colours. With 1 in 100 Australians living with autism, World Autism Awareness day (April 2nd) will honour the millions of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, carers and teachers who help them navigate our often-overwhelming world.
The change from blue to a spectrum of colours is in response to community feedback that blue has negative connotations, and is not inclusive. By moving away from ‘the blues’, Aspect is recognising the difference in each and every person with autism by instead using bursts, splashes and pops of colour. The bright, fun theme also speaks to Aspect’s advocacy for positive language and imagery in our national conversations around autism, insisting we “drop the d” in Autism Spectrum Disorder, for example.
Renowned news anchor, Tracy Spicer, is the recently appointed ambassador for Autism Spectrum Australia. Currently presenting on Sky News, Tracy says she wants to change the conversation around autism, as her 10-year-old nephew, Ronan, is on the spectrum. Tracey hopes to help families get an earlier diagnosis and more support, as the family wishes Ronan could have been diagnosed earlier.
Aspect CEO Adrian Ford believes using the spectrum of colours as a visual signature for World Autism Awareness Day sends a powerfully inclusive message about the ‘different brilliance’ of people living with autism today. “Let’s celebrate the colour and vibrancy people with autism bring to our everyday lives by wearing bright colours on World Autism Awareness Day this year, and for years to come,” he said.
THE SIGNS: early intervention checklist from Aspect
Are you worried about your child?
Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong disability that affects one in 100 children. The main areas of difficulty are in social and communication skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviours
Although there is no one indicator, there are several signs that could suggest autism spectrum disorder as shown below.
Social interaction and social communication
- looks away when you speak to him/her
- does not return your smile
- lack of interest in other children
- often seems to be in his/her own world
- lack of ability to imitate simple motor movements eg. clapping hands
- prefers to play alone
- very limited social play (eg “Peek-a-Boo”)
- not responding to his/her name by 12 months
- not pointing or waving by 12 months
- loss of words previously used
- unusual language pattern (e.g. repetitive speech)
- has unusual interests or attachments
- has unusual motor movements such as hand flapping, spinning or walking on tiptoes
- has difficulty coping with change
- unusual distress reaction to some everyday sounds
- uses peripheral vision to look at objects
- preoccupation with certain textures or avoids certain textures
- plays with objects in unusual ways such as repetitive spinning or lining up
If you see your child or someone you know reflected in this list, call 1800 ASPECT for information about diagnosis, or speak with your GP or paediatrician.
(Source: Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect))