The Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month each April since the 1970s. So we at RJWestmore, Inc would like to take this opportunity to devote one of our April blog posts to alert the public about autism-related issues. As an interested firedog, I find it fascinating that autistic people sometimes react more favorably to animals than to people. It shows that they have good taste. But I want to make sure readers know that I share my own thoughts in this post not in any way to make light of autism, but as a means of supporting those who deal with this very serious condition themselves or with people that they love.
Affecting one in every 88 children in America, autism is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. This family of disorders includes autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Some autistic people behave like the title character in the movie, Rain Man. But that can hardly be considered an accurate case study anymore than Snoopy is a case study about the life of all dogs.
How can the average person help? Here are a few suggestions:
- Show you care. The Autism puzzle symbol is one of the most recognizable brands in the US. According to the Autism Society of America, the Autism Awareness Ribbon is a puzzle pattern which reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families who are living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope—hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives. Show your support of individuals who deal with autism by sporting the icon with a lapel pin, bumper sticker, dog bowl or refrigerator magnet.
Make a difference. Contact your representatives on the state and federal level and ask them to “Vote 4 Autism.” Connect to find out what your elected officials think about legislation which affects people with autism. For more information about this legislation and to take action to support it, visit http://www.autism-society.org/vote4autism. Also, you can search the Autism Legislation Database for up-to-date information about relevant issues. I would like to lobby for my own canine-related issues…like the inclusion of bacon in every doggy Christmas stocking. But I digress.
- Connect with your community. Many Autism Society local chapters hold special events in their communities throughout the month of April. But if you can’t find an event that suits you, feel free to create your own! Since autistic individuals struggle with simple tasks such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed, families need all of the help they can get.
1Power4Autism is an online tool that makes it easy to mobilize friends and family and help make a difference. The Autism Society recognizes the power that one person, one organization, one idea or one event can have on autism. Everyone can make a difference and support the one mission of the Autism Society.
A grassroots event program for the Autism Society to increase awareness, raise funds, and expand volunteers for national and local autism support programs, 1Power4Autism uses advocacy, fundraising events, volunteering and awareness campaigns to can create a powerful movement and make autism a national priority.
- Watch a movie. Did you know that something as simple as going to the movies is not an option for many families affected by autism? The Autism Society is working with AMC Theatres to bring special-needs families Sensory Friendly Films every month. Click here for more information. When have you ever been asked to watch a movie to support charity? It doesn’t get any easier than that!
- BE SAFE. RJWestmore, Inc. offers an informational worksheet detailing the most effective way to deal with people who have Autism, in the event of an emergency. The emergency preparedness instructions help family members as well as friends and first responders remember the proper methods for helping Autistic people, since those who care for people with autism, or are in close contact with an autistic person, must take special precautions before, during and after any emergency. What’s more, RJWestmore has a contact form for Autism Risk & Safety Management. Completing the form in advance provides first-responders.
Also, the RJWestmore Training System offers an informational PDF (will add link here) which is automatically sent to users who adds themselves to the Special Assistance List. The document is meant for anyone who identifies him or herself as having “any condition, temporary or permanent, that hinders or impedes the individual or others from safely evacuating.”
These individuals are encouraged to register and notify their companies, the offices of the building/Fire Safety Directors and their Fire/Floor Wardens. They are also reminded to follow specific emergency action plan manual instructions and participate in all drills. All of these resources are provided for the safety of the affected individual as well as those in his or her community.
When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW RJWestmore Property Messaging System is included FREE for all RJWestmore Online Training System users. Visit www.RJWestmore.com for more information.