National Autism Awareness Month is celebrated during the month of April. Autism is a
neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to communicate and socially interact. According to the CDC, it is estimated that 1 in 44 children has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the U.S. The symptoms can vary from person to person, as it is a disorder with a complex set of developmental disabilities. The month of April is dedicated to promoting awareness and understanding for those who are living with ASD.
Families with ASD face unique challenges and we can show them our support and
understanding in many ways. Here are a few:
1. Take time to learn and understand their behaviors.
Dive into books, articles, and research studies to educate yourself on the condition and have a better understanding. ASD manifests itself in various ways and it is important to understand its complexity before making assumptions.
2. Listen to their experiences.
Listen to the experiences and stories of the families with ASD and their challenges with an open heart and mind. Try to understand their unique challenges by asking respectful questions.
3. Show empathy.
Offer support and encouragement while listening to their struggles. Show your kindness by
possibly volunteering or donating to an autism-related organization.
Families living with ASD face challenges every day as they face significant stigma in their
everyday lives. When discrimination is encountered, help families by speaking out and
advocating for the rights of autistic people.
5. Offer practical help.
Help ASD children and families by performing small acts of kindness. Run errands, babysit, cook meals, pay someone’s bill, let someone go in front of you in line, write a kind note, help with housework, or home repair, etc. These small acts of kindness can go a long way and have the power to brighten someone’s day.
Let us use this month of autism awareness to show our love and support for families with
autism who have defied the odds! Donate to the autism speaks organization to show your
As we approach the months of April and May, three major holidays of different faiths are celebrated: Easter (Resurrection Sunday), Passover, and Ramadan. These holidays may seem vastly different from each other; however, they also share many similarities in their histories and traditions.
Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday of April and is considered one of the most significant holidays in Christianity. It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ as told in the New Testament. Christians celebrate this event that is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans. It is traditional to eat Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday. Eggs are known as an ancient symbol of fertility as this correlates with springtime because spring is associated with new life and rebirth. Christians celebrate by attending church services, Easter egg hunts, and family gatherings!
Jews celebrate Passover for the duration of seven or eight days, beginning on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Passover celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt, as recounted in the Torah. In Egypt, the firstborn children of every family would die. Firstborn sons must fast for Passover in celebration of the firstborns being saved after their escape. During Passover, Jews gather for a Seder, a festive meal that includes retellings of the Exodus from Egypt as well as symbolic foods. There are six symbolic Passover foods such as beitzah, haroset, karpas, maror and hazeret, and zeroa!
Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims as it begins on the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, the holy month of fasting. Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset and is a time for prayer and reflection. During daylight hours, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs. Ramadan is a time to feel closer to God and your loved ones. Ramadan comes to an end with a celebration known as Eid ul-Fitr, which follows the period of fasting where Muslims praise Allah for giving them strength during this time. This day is celebrated by expressing gratitude, exchanging gifts, visiting family and friends, giving to charity, and of course, tons of eating!
These three holidays share many common themes despite their differences such as the importance of family, faith, and tradition of celebrating a significant event in the history of the respective faith. In the celebration of these holidays, it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the diversity in our communities. Our similarities and differences are what make us unique! Through celebrating these overlapping faiths, a level of respect and understanding is developed for each other’s belief systems and traditions. For more information about the convergence of these holiday’s, learn more here!