In recognition of World Autism Day on Tuesday, Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) released the following statement:
“On World Autism Awareness Day and throughout National Autism Awareness Month in April, the global community comes together to support and foster understanding for those on the autism spectrum. While autism is common – about one percent of world’s population has autism spectrum disorder, including over 3.5 million Americans – misconceptions still exist. Awareness efforts are crucial to reducing the stigma surrounding autism and helping people on the spectrum become more integrated in their communities.
“As chair of the Human Services Committee, I often hear from families of children and adults with autism about the challenges they face on a daily basis. Families may have trouble finding quality care for their loved one, developing a suitable education plan for a child at school, or ensuring they have access to training and employment opportunities as an adult. These obstacles can be all the more difficult in a culture that largely embraces myths about autism. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, for example, people with autism are not intellectually disabled and can feel and express emotions; they just may have difficulty communicating those emotions.
“I encourage everyone to educate themselves on autism and promote awareness not just today, but every day. It will make a difference in lives of millions.”