One of every 70 children born in North Carolina will be affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In recognition that April is World Autism Awareness Month, the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) launched Get Autism, a campaign to raise awareness of Autism on all levels in society and to help increase understanding of this growing population.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. According to a recent study, the rate of prevalence in North Carolina is higher than the national rate of 1 of every 88. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, states that ASD could affect at least one million children in the U.S. ASD is more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the world.
“We want our society as a whole to get educated about Autism and understand the individuals who have a diagnosis. Get Autism means understand, get to know and see who the population really is. As individuals we all see who we want to see. We can see someone with Autism and just see a person who is different than us or we can see them as who they really are – the artist, co-worker, neighbor, sports enthusiast, brother, best friend,” said David Laxton, director of communications, Autism Society of North Carolina.
Obama also issued a Presidential Proclamation in honor of World Autism Awareness Day, citing efforts his administration has made in “leveling the playing field for Americans on the autism spectrum.”
According to the Autism Society of North Carolina, 32 states have passed autism insurance bills across the country to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism. “It is time for North Carolina to join the other states that have made treatment of autism a priority,” said Tracey Sheriff, CEO, Autism Society of North Carolina. “We’re following House Bill 498 closely and working to ensure its passage.”
ASNC has developed a series of television Get Autism PSAs that will run during April as well as sponsorship messages on NPR, Facebook and Twitter posts and other outreaches. “If we can encourage one person to understand Autism or lead one family to the resources they need, we’ll consider our Get Autism Campaign a success,” said Laxton. “We believe that with awareness comes hope, action and change.”
The Autism Society of NC encourages everyone to become a part of this statewide initiative to raise awareness by visiting their web site at www.autismsocietyofnc.org to learn how they can become involved and to share their social media posts available at facebook.com/AutismSocietyofNorthCarolina.