How to Support ASD Families on World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized annual event celebrated on April 2, encouraging Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about individuals with autism throughout the world.

It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution passed in council on November 1, 2007, and adopted on December 18, 2007. Let’s learn more about autism and how you can support families affected by it on World Autism Awareness Day.

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How You Can Promote Autism Awareness This April

The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

CDC statistics reveal that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is 4.3 times more prevalent in boys than it is in girls. This is because girls “often go undiagnosed because they do not always fit autism stereotypes and may be able to mask symptoms better than boys do.”

CDC reported in 2020 that autism occurred in 1 in 36 8-year-olds throughout the US.

The rate of autism appears to vary depending on which part of the world someone lives in, as not all countries have the same assessment capabilities. Data from various sources indicate differences in autism rates across the world.

The US, Japan, and the United Kingdom appear to have the highest identified numbers, while Taiwan, North Korea, and the Cook Islands seem to have the least.

Challenges faced by parents of autistic children

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience a wide range of emotions as they navigate the unique challenges associated with raising their individual on the spectrum. 

Unfortunately, they often experience judgment and misunderstanding. The systems that support parents are not always kind, and that can result in parents feeling guilty, isolated, and wrongly judged.

I know parents who are constantly overwhelmed and frustrated. Just the daily demands of supporting a child with sensory challenges, communication limitations, and challenging behaviors are so trying on parents.

I see the sadness, grief, confusion, and frustration in so many single parents, partners, and married couples. But I also witness the joy and hope these parents experience when their individual accomplishes just the smallest step. 

Supporting ASD families on World Autism Awareness Day

On World Autism Awareness Day, how can the whole world support friends, neighbors, or family members who love and care for those on the autism spectrum? Here are some ideas.

Educate yourself and others

Take time to educate yourself on the characteristics and capabilities of those on the spectrum. Then, help educate others and advocate for legislative support. 

There are numerous autism tool kits available that can assist parents and others in understanding autism.

Parents of an autistic child talking to a therapist

Consider connecting with local or national autism support organizations to access resources and community support. These organizations often provide valuable connections, information, and assistance for individuals and families affected by ASD.

Provide emotional support

Be the safe space for your sister, brother, friend, son, or daughter who has a child on the spectrum to talk about their frustrations, sadnesses, grief, and fears.

Listen. Do not judge. Know that there are support groups to help provide that safe space for siblings. 

Offer help and assistance

Offer some type of help or relief. Provide a meal, offer to buy groceries, or drive them somewhere they need to go. If you are a grandparent, offer to help with household chores, take your grandchild to therapies, or babysit other children in the family.

Volunteer and donate

Volunteer to help at an event in your area that donates to causes for the autism spectrum. These events might include fundraisers, awareness campaigns, or activities designed to support individuals with ASD and their families. By getting involved, you can contribute directly to organizations working to improve the lives of those affected by autism.

Purchase books for school libraries to help build neurodiversity acceptance. These books can help promote understanding, acceptance, and inclusivity of individuals with ASD among students, educators, and community members. 

Taking action for inclusivity

Understanding the challenges faced by families affected by autism is crucial for building a supportive and inclusive society. By educating ourselves and others, providing emotional support, and offering help and assistance, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. 

So, I urge you to honor this upcoming April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day by selecting at least one idea presented in this article and finding a way to move forward on increasing your awareness and support.

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Q: Why do we celebrate World Autism Awareness Day?

A: World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and promote acceptance, understanding, and inclusion of individuals with ASD in society. It aims to foster a more supportive and accommodating environment for those with autism and their families.

Q: What should we do for World Autism Awareness Day?

A: On World Autism Awareness Day, take time to educate yourself on autism spectrum disorder and its characteristics. Offer support and understanding to individuals and families affected by autism, and consider volunteering or donating to relevant organizations.

Q: What is the symbol for autism?

A: For most people, the symbol for autism is a puzzle piece, representing the complexity and diversity of the autism spectrum. It is often depicted in various colors, reflecting the idea of neurodiversity. Some other common ones include rainbows, butterflies, hands, an infinity symbol, and more.

Q: How common is autism?

A: Autism is reported to occur in 1 in 36 8-year-olds throughout the US, with boys being 4.3 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. However, prevalence rates can vary globally due to differences in assessment capabilities across countries.


Underwood, J. F., DelPozo-Banos, M., Frizzati, A., John, A., & Hall, J. (2022). Evidence of increasing recorded diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in Wales, UK: An e-cohort study. Autism, 26(6), 1499-1508. 

Duvekot, J., van der Ende, J., Verhulst, F. C., Slappendel, G., van Daalen, E., Maras, A., & Greaves-Lord, K. (2017). Factors influencing the probability of a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in girls versus boys. Autism, 21(6), 646-658. 

Dillenburger, K., Jordan, J.-A., McKerr, L., Lloyd, K., and Schubotz, D. (2017) Autism awareness in children and young people: surveys of two populations. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 61: 766–777. doi: 10.1111/jir.12389.

Russell, G., Stapley, S., Newlove-Delgado, T., Salmon, A., White, R., Warren, F., Pearson, A. and Ford, T. (2022), Time trends in autism diagnosis over 20 years: a UK population-based cohort study. J Child Psychol Psychiatr, 63: 674-682.

Zeidan, J., Fombonne, E., Scorah, J., Ibrahim, A., Durkin, M. S., Saxena, S., Yusuf, A., Shih, A., & Elsabbagh, M. (2022). Global prevalence of autism: A systematic review update. Autism Research, 15(5), 778–790.


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