The month of April is Autism Awareness Month and all across the world people are participating in Autism Awareness Day or “Light It Up Blue” day. Famous landmarks like the Empire State building and the Eiffel Tower are lit up blue to raise awareness and many people around the world including Kennedy students are wearing blue for the cause.
Autism affects one in 68 children and one in 42 boys. It is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the U.S. and costs a family $60,000 a year on average. Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism and there is no cure or medical detection for it.
There are 11 students in the autism program here at Kennedy, taught by special education teachers, Sarah Poe and Amy Shoemaker.
“I think a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about what autism is, what autism students do, and how they act. There is no cure for autism and it is not caused by vaccines,” said Poe.
Not all people understand what autism is and how it works. Autism awareness day was put in place to educate the general public.
“Sometimes the scariest things are the things we don’t know,” said Shoemaker. By educating people about autism this would give them more understanding of the people who are affected by the disorder.
To support Autism Awareness Day Poe said, “A big thing that students could do is wear blue.”
“There are a lot of people who may have autistic tendencies or characteristics but have never been diagnosed. There may be people who get straight A’s and are brilliant but have a very difficult time carrying on a conversation with someone or don’t understand social cues,” said Shoemaker.
By educating the general public things such as bullying and teasing can be avoided.
“They’re different. They are not less,” said Poe.