Every year on the second Sunday of February, the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger Syndrome raises awareness for these developmental disorders. The day is also known as Autism Sunday.
According to WHO, about one in 270 people in the world has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is a group of developmental disabilities that causes challenges in many areas of one’s life. Some of the profoundly affected areas include social, communication, and behavior. Children with ASD are usually nonverbal or they have restricted or repetitive behaviors.
At one time, Asperger syndrome was a separate diagnosis. Today, this condition is under the umbrella of ASD. Unlike autism, however, there is no delay in language or cognitive development with Asperger syndrome. Both ASD and Asperger’s often present with a variety of sensory issues. When a person is hypersensitive to certain stimuli, it makes it difficult to be in certain environments. Sadly, one of those environments is church.
Because of this, many churches have special services that cater to those with ASD. These services include fewer people, dimmed lighting, softer music, and a special calming area.
HOW TO OBSERVE #AutismSunday
On this day churches around the world hold special services to pray for those diagnosed and affected by autism and Asperger syndrome. To participate, pray for those you know who have been diagnosed with autism or Asperger syndrome. If your church doesn’t already take part in this special day, encourage church leaders to do so. You can also talk to them about having a sensory-sensitive service. If you don’t know much about ASDs, it’s a great day to start learning about them.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #AutismSunday.
AUTISM SUNDAY HISTORY
In 2000, British citizens Ivan Corea and his wife Charika established the Autism Awareness Campaign in the UK. Their teenage son, Charin, had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Their goal was to raise awareness as well as campaign for independent research. The year 2002 became Autism Awareness Year in the UK. On February 9, 2002, the Corea family launched Autism Sunday. On this day St. Paul’s Cathedral in London held its first service for autism. Today, church leaders around the world, of every denomination, take part in Autism Sunday.
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