Katherine Gooding of Houston, Texas, thinks about autism spectrum disorder every day in her life in some way or the other. That’s because her tall, handsome, affectionate, and hysterically funny son Simon was diagnosed of autism just a few days after he turned two years old.
Every year, 2 April is observed as the World Autism Awareness Day. Katherine’s email inbox overflows with newsletters from various autism groups. Her social media pages too are filled with similar reminders. Katherine says that it’s encouraging to see people rally together to support special needs children. But she also wonders, what significance the day has to people who are not directly affected by any form of autism spectrum disorder? What would have autism meant to her before it was detected in Joshua? Probably nothing much.
One in every 68 children, one in every 42 boys, is affected with autism spectrum disorder in the US. But these are just dry statistics for those who are not personally affected. A family, which doesn’t have an autistic child, will perhaps never understand what it’s like to attend a special needs classroom.
Awareness about autism is most important. Aware people can understand. They can empathize and restrain their judgment. They try to be helpful and teach others about special needs.
Names changed on request