April is Autism Awareness Month
Today, April 2nd is World Autism Day!
Here are just a few things about Autism you should know.
Adapted from: http://autism. about.com/
People with autism can be mildly or severely affected by autism. A disorder that includes such a broad range of symptoms is often called a spectrum disorder; hence the term “autism spectrum disorder.” The most significant shared symptom is difficulty with social communication (eye contact, conversation, taking another’s perspective, etc.).
If you’ve seen the movie “Rainman” or a TV show about autism, you may think you know what autism “looks like.” In fact, when you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve just met ONE person with autism. Some people with autism talk a lot; others are non-verbal. Many have sensory issues, digestive problems, sleep difficulties and other medical problems. Others may have only have social/communicatio n issues.
3. There Are Many Treatments for Autism, But No “Magic Cure”
So far as medical science is aware, there is at present no “cure” for autism. It’s not a germ that can be taken care of with a shot. BUT, with treatments and interventions such as behavior therapy, sensory therapy, speech therapy, biomedical interventions, etc, many people with autism make astounding strides and improvements! But even when people with autism increase their skills, they are still autistic, which means they think and perceive differently from most people.
5. There Are Many Theories On The Causes Of Autism, But No Agreement On One Cause
You may have seen or heard news stories about possible causes of autism. Theories range from mercury in vaccines, genetics, environmental chemical exposure, etc. At present, most researchers think autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and it’s quite possible that different people’s symptoms have different causes.
Autism is a lifetime diagnosis. For some people, especially those who receive intensive early intervention, symptoms may decrease radically. People with autism can also learn coping skills to help them manage their difficulties and learn to build on their unique strengths. But they will continue to have autism throughout their lives.
7. It’s Never Too Late!
Whether your child with autism is two, ten, or twenty-five, he or she will benefit from therapy. Of course, the earlier one starts the better. But whatever your child’s stage of life, it’s not too late to make a difference.
People with autism have an incredible amount of potential! For example, Amanda Baggs is a 26 year old woman with autism who is nonverbal yet has a blog and has posted videos on the internet about what it is like to live with autism (http://www.cnn. com/2007/ HEALTH/02/ 21/autism. amanda/index. html). Other people with autism include writers, scientists, artists, etc. No matter how profoundly a person is affected by autism, he or she can contribute a great deal to the community. With the right tools, people with autism can reach their full potential.