World Autism Awareness Day takes place on the 2nd April this year. This campaign encourages the public to fundraise and take part in different activities, aiming to raise awareness for different autism charities.
The initiative aims to bring organisations around the UK together, promote awareness, acceptance and to draw attention to the challenges those with autism face.
What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong disorder that affects how people interact and communicate with people and how they experience the environment around them.
Some characteristics include:
- Finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling
- Feeling very anxious about social interaction
- Finding it tough to say how you feel
- Avoiding eye contact
- Restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour
Why is spreading awareness important?
As those with Autism face difficult challenges, they can feel isolated and misunderstood. This can lead to other mental health difficulties. Studies show around 1 in 3 adults with autism experience a severe mental health difficulty like depression (***). Also, studies have shown a high risk of suicide for those with autism (**). Spreading awareness can increase the visibility of services available to those who need it.
Autistic people also face challenges in relation to inclusivity. Only 10% of adults with autism receive employment support, but over 50% say they want it (**)
This evidence reiterates the importance in promoting awareness and acceptance through days such as World Autism Awareness.
At The Eaves, we have counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists who are experienced in supporting those with autism. If you are looking for someone to speak to, please contact the referrals team on 01483 917000 who would be happy to help source a suitable therapist for you.
(*) Cassidy, S. A., Bradley, L., Bowen, E., Wigham, S., & Rodgers, J. (2018). Measurement properties of tools used to assess depression in adults with and without autism spectrum conditions: a systematic review. Autism Research, 11(5), 738-754
(**) Cassidy, S., Bradley, L., Shaw, R., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2018). Risk markers for suicidality in autistic adults. Molecular Autism, 9(1), 42.
(***) Bancroft et al (2012). The Way We Are: Autism in 2012. London: The National Autistic Society