Throughout the course of the universe, there has been a consistent progression of endless loss and endless gain. In this progression, the process of natural selection has proven so effective that roughly ninety-nine percent of all species that ever lived are now extinct. However, in our current age of such technological and medical advancements, we are no longer a part of natural selection. We have set ourselves apart from animals in such a way that allows the weakest links of our species to survive and procreate.
Not only are we in an age of highly evolved medical practices, we are also in an age of highly evolved diseases which are being preserved by none other than ourselves. Has modern medicine actually led to a less advanced civilization? Modern medicine is, to a certain degree, both preventing and continuing the natural evolution of man. One epidemic in particular has recently been in the spotlight due to its rapid increase among new borns. “Michael D. Kogan of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and colleagues announced that about 1 of every 91 American children has a disorder on the autism spectrum (Grant).
It is something that needs to be addressed and examined. The National Autism Association is one website that aims to assist the population through awareness programs and research, because autism is an epidemic that is on the rise. “Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3 (The National Autism Association),” but the causes still remain debatable. While some argue it is a genetic disorder, others posit that autism is idiopathic and still unclear. This epidemic has spurred a new field of research in order to find a cure or a cause and how it is increasing in newborns.
The National Autism Association is a website that strives to bring knowledge of autism to the public. It has literature about most aspects of autism, including an overview, definitions, symptoms, causes, treatments, and myths about autism. It is primarily an educational website for the public, but it also has information on how to join the National Autism Association, an event calendar, local chapters, an online store, and a donation section. It is not sponsored by any specific organization but has many company sponsors that donate to the Associations cause such as Wines for Autism, The Little Playmates Company, Watch Me Learn, and many more.
With donations and sales of autism awareness merchandise, the National Autism Association can promote its awareness efforts and fundraising for autism research more easily. The organizations purpose is to help people who are unaware of autism learn what it is and how they can help. It’s agenda is to fundraise money for autism efforts in the world. Through use of links, pictures, sponsors, merchandise and videos, it effectively raises its points.
Alongside an easily accessed interface, the National Autism Association has scholarly sources in their informational section, such as the American Psychiatric Association. Use of scholarly sources ensures their credibility as a website, as well as other information that is not cited but backed up by authors like Naomi Thiers of Educational Leadership, who reiterate “The problems with processing and expressing language that are characteristic of autism underlie the difficulties autistic students have with social interaction, communication, and academic work (Thiers).
Information that is valid is extremely vital to the success of a website whose intentions are to inform, especially considering that a large portion of the audience is affected by or knows someone affected by autism. If the website had flaws in their information, viewers and sponsors would probably find it detrimental to the overall purpose of such a website and national association. Another aspect of the website that makes it legitimate is the number of local chapters in fifteen states. Local chapters of an association make members feel part of a family on a larger, national scale that is not just limited to one location.
Members that are supportive of the National Autism Association don’t even have to live in one of fifteen states that have a local chapter to show support. Since the National Autism Association has accounts on both facebook and twitter, anyone in the world can follow along with happenings and other information. Supporters can also sponsor, donate, or purchase merchandise for the website and association. The National Autism Association is also a proud member of the Global Autism Collaboration, which is an international alliance for autism awareness.
Joining the National Autism Association is also another option for those who do not have a local chapter in the vicinity of their homes. If someone joins the Association, they can open a local chapter of their own, find out about volunteer opportunities, and even “find a friend” which enables them to help out someone suffering with autism. If this isn’t enough, viewers can access the “Action Center” tab which directs them to a video focused on the National Autism Association Grassroots Center.
The Grassroots Center seeks viewers to ask Senators to co-sponsor “S. 2860,” which aims to prevent harmful restraint and seclusion in school, followed by a link to take action now. Those who wish to help more financially, can join the Helping Hand Program, which provides financial aid for autism families. Otherwise anyone can simply donate or purchase merchandise. The National Autism Association’s online store, the “Little Shop of Hope,” is very successful in raising money for autism.
With products such as jewelry, ornaments, weighted blankets, supplements, digestive enzymes, greeting cards, wristbands, bumper stickers, keychains, shirts, postage stamps, hats, and coffee mugs, the “Little Shop of Hope” has made an impact on people’s acknowledgment of the epidemic. The most notable icon of autism awareness is the puzzle piece, which is virtually on almost all awareness products. Some people who are directly affected by autism have gotten the puzzle piece tattooed on themselves in order to show their dedication.
Whether tattooing yourself with puzzle pieces, lobbying to senators for votes in schools, making large or small donations, sponsoring the website, volunteering, starting a local chapter of the association, “finding a friend,” purchasing autism awareness merchandise, or simply educating yourself about autism and it’s impact on society, the National Autism Association is the perfect resource for what you’re looking for. It’s accessible layout, accurate information and support for a much needed cause further display it’s importance to our world and understanding of autism.