April 2: International Autism Awareness Day
By Rocío Puig
April 2 reminds us that autism is the silent epidemic: in the United States of America, more than 15 years ago, one child was born with autism in every 1,000 births. The current statistic is one in every 110 births! This situation is similar around the world and these figures are frightening, especially because there is no known cause for it nor a cure. What is autism? There are many technical definitions, but in short it is a neurological condition in which, among other things, there are fewer connections between neurons causing three main problems: lack of communication, lack of social skills and repetitive or strange behaviors.
In general, a person with autism has to go through many therapies in order to learn to communicate, socialize and behave. Since autism is a spectrum, each person is a unique case. There are people with autism who can speak, other who cannot, some have special sensitivities, others do not, some have mental retardation, others do not — on the contrary, some even have brilliant minds. In our community, a group of concerned parents just founded a civil association called Niños con Autismo de San Miguel de Allende (Children with Autism in San Miguel de Allende). The objective of this group is to exchange information, to give emotional support and to raise funds to help cover the much needed therapies for children with autism. Some time in the future, they want to create a center to provide education and support to young people with autism to prepare them to be self-sufficient. For more information and to help this association, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.facebook.com/autismosanmiguel.