My wife Debra and I are raising 6 amazing Starr kids and each of our children are unique in their own special way. For two of our children, autism is part of who they are and that plays a significant role in shaping our family dynamic. I'm certain this rings true for many families with loved ones on the spectrum.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. In North America it is estimated that 1 in 68 live with ASD and it occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls.
Due to the fact that autism can be invisible to strangers at first glance, many will assume, judge and characterize through a typical lens, leaving little room for empathy during completely innocent interactions. From support services to education to employment opportunities, creating awareness opens the door to acceptance and the betterment of a society that can identify and celebrate different abilities.
Scientists believe that both genetics and environment likely play a role in ASD. Growing concerns that rates of autism have been increasing in recent decades without full explanation as to why makes awareness and acceptance even more important. We hope by sharing our experiences and what we know today about autism, the world will become a more inclusive place for all of us.
October is "Autism Awareness and Acceptance" month and a great opportunity to learn more...
Damin Starr is an Autism Parent and board member of the Canadian National Autism Foundation. He speaks regularly on autism and issues related to social inclusion.