Today is the 7th Annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day, declared by the United Nations in 2007. Autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events.
As I posted yesterday, “Last week the Centers for Disease Control released new study data showing that 1 in 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder (I dislike that word), which is a 30% increase since the last study in 2008 when the rate was 1 in 88.”
When my grandson was diagnosed 11 years ago, the rate was 1 in 150, so there’s been a dramatic rise of incidence in 11 years. Part of it is due, no doubt to better recognition and reporting, but valid questions abound as to what is causing the increase. For parents, the main concern is that their children receive the help they need to adjust to a world in which they are not comfortable nor well understood. That’s where the awareness initiative comes into the picture.
One of the bright spots in recent autism reporting is that there are some employers who are seeking out autistic adults to work in their corporations, companies or small businesses. This article in the Wall Street Journal points out that a German-based software company and U.S. mortgage lender Freddie Mac actually seek out people with autism to perform detail intensive work that they typically excel at because of their tendency to be very detail oriented. And this article in Slate mentions the two companies above but also provides a sketch profile of a hedge fund founder who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and, because of his attention to detail, noticed the issues with subprime mortgages and steered his investors away from the shoddy loans. Doing so saw his investors realize gains of 489.34 percent when others were losing money.
If you’re not familiar with autism and what it involves, please take a few minutes on this World Autism Awareness Day to increase your knowledge and awareness. You’ll feel better for it and you’ll learn to interact better with those diagnosed on the autism spectrum.