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Autism Awareness Month

April marks Autism Awareness Month, a time when the community joins to promote awareness and inclusion of people living with autism. Globally, Autism Awareness Month sets off with everyone wearing blue on April 2. 

Enhancing knowledge and understanding about autism is critical to build a more inclusive society that celebrates the diversity and value that all individuals living on the autism spectrum bring to our lives. 

Autism is a lifelong neurological developmental condition which affects every person differently. As many as 1 in 70 people are diagnosed with autism, equating to around 230000 Australians, with boys four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. Most people are diagnosed in early childhood when difficulties with social interactions, communication and behaviour become more apparent. Individualised patterns emerge between 12 months to 18 months of age with no two children sharing the same pattern. These patterns may include:

Unusual or affected motor skills
Unusual or affected speech patterns
Extreme reliance on patterns and organisation
Sensory sensitivity
Repetitive behaviours
Extreme focus on specific topics or interests
Inability to understand facial expressions or subtlety

Understanding these symptoms proves crucial for early identification and therapy.

Positive, open partnerships between families and educators are necessary to support children with their challenges and identifying their strengths and interests in order to enrich their lives.

Igniting a global conversation about autism educates society of the complexities faced for people living with autism and their families, which has the power to change perceptions. Autism awareness month hopes to inform and educate people in order to ultimately accomplish acceptance of the condition and respect for all individuals who autism affects in their day to day lives.

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