Organizers of a recent Autism Awareness Day event say it is vital to raise awareness of the condition as many children remain undiagnosed.
The Special Needs Foundation of Cayman set up an education booth in Camana Bay, which was “lit up blue” along with other landmarks around for world for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.
Susie Bodden, executive leader of the Special Needs Foundation, said the group’s objective for the day was to spread the word about autism spectrum disorder and make people more aware of the issue.
“It’s so important that, as a community, we recognize the symptoms of autism at an early stage because early diagnosis and intervention can significantly improve outcomes. Many children still remain undiagnosed, so by educating the community, we can make efforts to change this, as well as the stigma that surrounds autism,” she said.
The Special Needs Foundation of Cayman also encouraged schools and local businesses to participate in the campaign by wearing blue to school or work and donating to the Foundation on April 2. “The donations from schools and participating businesses are greatly appreciated and allow us to continue offering services to families with children with special needs,” Ms. Bodden said.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. It is estimated that 1 percent of the world’s population is affected by autism, or 70 million people. A new case of autism is diagnosed every 15 minutes, affecting four times as many boys as girls.