April: Autism Awareness Month

2022 Satire Issue

Autism Societys new logo. Photo retrieved from autismsociety.com

Autism Society’s new logo. Photo retrieved from autismsociety.com

Darrius Frazier, The best Archivist in the game

April is Autism Awareness month. However, many people do not know very much about autism, or why this was the month chosen to spread its awareness. 

According to Autism Society of America (ASA), “Autism, short for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a complex, lifelong developmental condition that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships and self-regulation.”

This varies from case to case, and from person to person. ASA goes on to explain this by saying, “The Autism experience is different for everyone and affects people of varying degrees.  It is defined by individuals who engage in restricted and repetitive behaviors that are atypical of one’s age or sociocultural group and may be resistant to change as well as displaying executive functioning disorders.”

Since the American Psychiatric Association considers autism a neurodevelopmental disorder, there is no known cure for it.  Therefore, individuals with ASD will typically receive varying amounts of support necessary to function in society.

An autism awareness group, Integrity, Inc., has identified five main types of ASD.  The essential categories of ASD are: Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), commonly known as high-functioning autism; Rett Syndrome (RS), which mainly affects females; Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD); Kanner’s Syndrome (KS), also known as classical autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), a milder form of autism.  These terms are no longer used in professional settings, but many still retain their original diagnoses.

The reason why Autism Awareness Month is celebrated globally in April as opposed to another month is that the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in 2007 to designate April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. The purpose of the day is to bring individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in research, diagnoses, treatment and acceptance for those with a developmental path affected by ASD. According to the Autism Book Club, blue is chosen for Autism Awareness Month because this color “exudes peace, honesty and calmness.”   

For those wondering if they have met a person with ASD, especially on campus, chances are you have; in fact, I, Darrius R. Frazier, have autism. I was clinically diagnosed with classical autism, also known as KS, at the age of two.  Many medical professions told my parents that “formal education” was not a viable option for me. Needless to say, my parents did not abdicate their heavenly familial responsibilities and succumbed to the wishes of a few uninitiated within the helping professions. 

Through hard work, prayer, and diligence, I was able to not only graduate from high school but earn three Baccalaureate degrees in Africana Studies, History and Kinesiology & Sports Studies with a concentration in Sports Management from Eastern Illinois University (EIU). Recently, I accomplished an Associate’s of Applied Science Degree in Radio/TV Broadcasting under the supervision of Greg Powers, as well as in Geospatial Technology under the custodianship of Mike Rudibaugh at Lake Land College (LLC).  

I was also diagnosed with AS in the middle of my freshman year at Eastern Illinois University (EIU), under the tutelage of Dr. Gail Richard, the chairperson of the Communication Disorders Department and Founder of the Autism Center at EIU Emeritus. Still, I continued my education and graduated! After my graduation from EIU, I enrolled as a student at LLC. 

In addition to serving in the two honors’ societies, Sigma Alpha Pi and Phi Theta Kappa, I became a member of the Broadcasting Club and an archivist for Navigator News. Currently, I serve as an on-air radio personality and sportscaster for WLKL-FM, 89.9 the Max Alternative, Lake Land’s radio station since 1976.  

Since being a part of the national office of Autism Society of America within the Council of Autistic Advisors, my involvement for autism awareness is geared towards raising awareness within racially diverse backgrounds since ASD affects all racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups equally.

Many qualities of an Autistic person are quite positive, and can give us fun talents! One ice breaker that I incorporate in conversations with either friends or strangers is to successfully predict the day of the week they were born if they provide me their exact birthdate. People will also ask me questions in order to find out about statistics, predictions as well as historical information in relation to football, baseball and basketball.

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