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Autism acceptance aim of World Autism Awareness Day

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Acceptance and inclusion is what the Society for Autism Support and Services (SASS) is advocating for this World Autism Awareness Day.

"Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social interaction, communication, behavior, and sensory processing," according to SASS.

"It is characterized by a wide range of symptoms and severity levels, which is why it is referred to as a 'spectrum' disorder."

In the 2019 Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth, one in 50 Canadian children were diagnosed with ASD, and SASS says the number is increasing due to a combination of improved diagnosis, but also unknown factors.

SASS is a Calgary-based organization offering a broad range of intervention services for everyone from toddlers, to adults.

"Every Calgarian has a stake in ensuring awareness, acceptance, and appropriate resources and services for individuals with autism and their families," said SASS executive director Dr. Kim Ward.

"Autism acceptance is critical if we want to create a truly inclusive Calgary where autistic citizens are able to thrive."

Ward says, as ASD diagnosis' increase, additional resources from both the government and the private sector are needed.

"For example, government funding for autism treatment services has been frozen since 2014."

More information about SASS and its mission can be found online.

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