My first job after graduating from college was as a teacher in a residential school for children with autism. I was a young, bright-eyed college graduate, who thought she would make a major impact on childrens' lives through this job. The job impacted me much more than I impacted those children, I'm sure, and that year was one of the most challenging and eye-opening years of my life.
When I learned that April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day, I just had to blog about it. I was shocked to read that the prevalence of autism has now climbed to a staggering 1 in 88 children in the U.S. Autism is essentially an epidemic at this point. It is one of those disorders that is so perplexing to me. I remember watching a touching documentary that profiled families who have children with autism. The most striking part of the documentary was when a mother tearfully described the moment she felt her son "slip away." She described her perfect baby boy hitting all his milestones and suddenly, at age 3, simply turning off - Her son no longer made eye contact, virtually stopped speaking, and entered an "other" world of repetition and seclusion.
If you or someone you know has a child with autism, please think of him/her today. If anything, take a moment to familiarize yourself with Autism. I like the website, AutismSpeaks.org.