My reasons for entering the Blogathon this year are intensely personal. My nephew Luke is autistic. My twin boys are 22 months old and, based on the experience of Doug and Laurie Flutie, we do not know for sure that they are not affected. Neither talk yet, so we're keenly aware of the possibility of autism. Autism is a disorder you need to understand, as the chances of you or someone you know having an autistic child are rising rapidly. No one knows why this disorder is growing at such an alarming rate.
What is autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.
Autism is the most common of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders, affecting an estimated 2 to 6 per 1,000 individuals (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2001). This means that as many as 1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism.
And that number is on the rise. Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a rate of 10-17 percent per year. At these rates, the ASA estimates that the prevalence of autism could reach 4 million Americans in the next decade.
The overall incidence of autism is consistent around the globe, but is four times more prevalent in boys than girls. Autism knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries, and family income, lifestyle, and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism's occurrence
About the charity
The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism
The Foundation's mission is to aid financially disadvantaged families who need assistance in caring for their children with autism; to fund education and research into the causes and consequences of childhood autism; and to serve as a clearinghouse and communications center for new programs and services developed for individuals with autism.
The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism was established by NFL quarterback Doug Flutie and his wife, Laurie, in honor of their son, Doug, Jr. who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Doug and Laurie are fortunate to have the resources to provide their son with the educational opportunities, special equipment and tools necessary for Doug, Jr. to live a happy and rewarding life. They realize, however, that there are thousands of families with autistic children who struggle every day to pay for similar services. Their primary objective is to provide families with a place to turn when they are in need of support.
What will I be doing during the Blogathon?
I will of course be blogging and highlighting and discussing autism, but I will be tech blogging as well. I'll address questions and issues from my sponsors as well as non sponsors. Need technical help of any sort? I promise to try to find and post the answer for you. Need a tool or bit of code developed? I'll try to do that as well. Sponsors get priority, and I will address their issues to the best of my abilities regardless of the timeframe of the Blogathon. That offer only applies to sponsors.
I'm also working on surprises for the Blogathon and rewards for the top sponsors. No promises, but know that I'm trying.
Update: Sponsors get recognized in a special recognition section near the top of side bar.