Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability. It is also defined as a set of behaviors that affects each individual differently. Autism affects the way that people communicate and interact with others. April is most commonly known as Autism Awareness Month, beginning April 1st and ending April 30th.
New Haven High has decided to recognize and celebrate Autism Awareness Month in many different ways. Every week, facts about autism are posted in the daily bulletin, as well as a reminder to students that autism is a unique personality trait that should be celebrated not only in April, but in every month.
New Haven High’s Resource Room encouraged students to wear blue on Tuesday, April 17th, to show their support for autism. There are also puzzle pieces of varying colors displayed throughout the hallways. A bulletin board in the black hallway is decorated with puzzle pieces and other information about autism. Artwork done by students on the ASD spectrum is being displayed as well.
Last week, the daily bulletin mentioned: “1 out of 68 children in the U.S. is on the Autism Spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorders are almost 5 times more common in boys than girls.
Did you know Thomas Jefferson was thought to be somewhere on the Autism Spectrum?”
This week, a portion of the daily bulletin is about bullying. It reads: “More than half of children with autism are bullied at some point in their lives and twice more compared to their peers who do not have a disability. More than half of bullying is also stopped when a peer intervenes, showing the importance of not only autism awareness, but also autism acceptance. Researchers at Cambridge University claim Sir Isaac Newton had Asperger’s Syndrome.”
When asked about autism, Mrs. Melissa Bruckerhoff, teacher in the Resource Room, said that when you meet someone with autism, you’re only meeting “one person” with autism. Autism affects people in different ways, and you can’t limit the definition of autism to one singular degree. She also mentioned, “Do not let a diagnosis define a person. Individuals with autism are just that: an individual with autism. It is important to separate the individual from the disability and not use it to define or describe them. I encourage people to say that an individual has autism and not say that the individual is autistic. I also think it is important for everyone to educate themselves not only on autism but other disabilities in order to be understanding, patient, and kind. Inclusion is vital for everyone but specifically those with a developmental disability, and the more people educate themselves, the more inclusion can take place in order for everyone to lead the most productive lives possible while experiencing all the joys associated with being a teenager, adult, or child.”
For more information regarding autism or Autism Awareness Month, visit: http://www.autism-society.org/