The entire month of April, which has been dedicated to bringing awareness to persons living with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), will go out with a bang this week.
Over the years, the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) has spearheaded several campaign projects including ‘Blue Fridays’, where staff report to work dressed in blue attire.
However, SLBMC’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Salma Crump shared the hospital’s desire to step it up a notch as it has organised a “National Blue Day” to raise more autism awareness. To this end, the hospital is encouraging the public to fully support the initiative on Friday.
“This year, especially, we’re asking everyone in Antigua and Barbuda to wear blue on April 29th just to honour someone with autism and their family, and continue to raise awareness and acceptance,” Crump told Observer over the weekend.
She added that acceptance for persons living with autism is the institution’s ultimate goal and believes all residents have a role to play in making it a reality.
“The reason why we’re doing all of these activities and focusing on autism acceptance is that we want to move autism acceptance out of the confines of April and make it a seamless part of life for everyone, autistic and even non-autistic,” according to Crump.
Autism can be described as a lifelong complex developmental condition, characterised by behavioural, communication and social interaction challenges.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a wide range of early childhood interventions can enhance the health and overall quality of life of these affected individuals.