By: Peter Daou on April 02, 2009 It affects 1 in 150 kids: As World Autism Awareness Day – designated by the United Nations as Tuesday, April 2 – winds down, the spotlight is on why the disorder is on the increase, why the causes still elude researchers, and why early diagnosis is so important. “We know autism is on the rise and we know there is a genetic predisposition,” says Dr. Cathy Pratt, board chairperson for the Autism Society of America (www.autism-society.org). “The controversy is over what is the trigger that actually causes it to occur. A lot of research is on what triggers it. I think that we will find that there are multiple causes. It’s not like a broken arm.” On Huffington Post, Peter Brown, a friend of Yoko Ono, writes: World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) was passed unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 2008. Along with AIDS and diabetes, autism is one of only three health issues to be so observed by the UN. In addition to promoting worldwide knowledge of the autism epidemic and the importance of early intervention, WAAD celebrates the unique creative talents and skills of people with autism, and features community events around the world where individuals with autism are celebrated. Please go online to bid on a unique “puzzle piece of art”, signed by Yoko, at www.worldautismawarenessday.org. Bids start at $1,000. All proceeds go to Autism Speaks, the world’s largest advocacy organization for autism awareness and research. With each winning bid is the promise that when the cure for autism is finally found, all pieces will be reassembled to mark the last World Autism Awareness Day.