Today, April 2, is World Autism Awareness Day. Designated by the United Nations in 2007, this event highlights the growing number of people affected by this developmental brain disorder. According to Autism Speaks, autism affects one in 110 children in the United States. Tens of millions of people are affected worldwide, and the numbers are on the rise. "Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.," according to the Autism Speaks website.
Although there are a number of theories, no one knows exactly what causes autism. Researchers suspect that some people are more susceptible to developing the condition, because there appears to be a genetic link. For example, siblings of a child with autism are more likely to have the condition. (My friend Ilene blogs about her life with autistic boy-girl twins at My Family's Experience with Autism.) One thing is nearly certain: the cause of autism is a complex mix of factors.
How can you show support for World Autism Awareness Day? Learn the signs of autism. CNN has put together a link list of 10 sites worth checking out if your child has autism. Share the special autism-themed Arthur episode (airing on PBS on April 5) with your family. And wear blue today to show support for everyone touched by this condition.