In case you were not aware, April is Autism Awareness Month.
In light of that, I thought I’d share an Autism-related craft I made a while back.
As I’ve mentioned before, before the birth of my son, I worked with preschoolers with Autism for 4 years. I made this shirt to show support for every child I’ve known who is affected by this disorder.
There is still so little known about the cause of Autism. And yet the stats show it is affecting more and more children as time goes on. Currently, Autism is estimated to affect 1 in 110 children– 1 in 70 boys. That makes Autism the most common childhood disorder by far. And yet the funding just isn’t there.
The most recent stats I saw look something like this:
Leukemia: Affects 1 in 1,200 / Funding: $277 million
Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 100,000 / Funding: $162 million
Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 300 / Funding: $394 million
Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $156 million
Autism: Affects 1 in 110 / Funding: $79 million
Granted, Autism isn’t life-threatening the way those other diseases are.
But there is no cure.
No one knows what causes it. And it is an ever-growing epidemic affecting our children. Recent studies estimate that the lifetime cost of caring with a person with Autism is $3.2 million.
I want to raise awareness so these stats can change. We need more money for research and for therapy for individuals with Autism. I have seen first hand what a difference early intervention can make. But it’s not cheap. Not all insurance covers it completely. And what of those without insurance at all?
Beyond the therapy, there’s the cost of PCA services. Most families I’ve encountered need additional help to care for their child or children with Autism. State services may pay for some number of hours for this, but it varies from family to family and state to state.
Please raise awareness with me. And while you go about your daily life, be aware of the children around you who are affected. Please don’t give dirty looks to parents in the grocery store when their children are tantruming. You don’t know what the cause might be. And parents of children with Autism have a hard enough time even making it to the store sometimes.
Please consider donating to Autism research or to help families of children with Autism.
For more information, here are some helpful pages:
(Shirt details: Upcycled t-shirt appliqued with other scraps of jersey. Puzzle pieces are regular applique, words are reverse applique.)
I’m thinking of making other products for Autism awareness. What products would you be interested in?