By Felicia Farnsworth
April is Autism Awareness month. The second day of April is considered World Autism Awareness Day. Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects many different races, ages, and genders. ASD is usually determined in an individual as early as 18 months old to four years of age.
The earlier the detection of autism is made in an individual, the better it is to get the needed help. CDC statistics show 1 in 88 children have some type of Autism. Boys are much more likely to be diagnosed as autistic than girls. Autism affects children as well as adults.
No two people are alike, and there is no single behavior that is always present in every individual with autism. ASD affects everyone differently. Autism is many disorders that have to do with the development of the brain.
ASD causes difficulty with social communication/interaction and exhibits restrictive and/or repetitive patterns of behavior. A few examples of social communication /interaction is: inability to initiate an interaction with someone; lack of interest in other people; Difficulties in pretend play; Difficulty establishing or maintaining back and forth conversations and interactions; Abnormal eye contact posture, facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures as well as inability to understand these. A few examples of Restrictive/ Repetitive Behavior are:
Stereotyped or repetitive speech.
Motor movements or use of objects.
Excessive adherence to routines.
Ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior.
Excessive resistance to change.
Unfortunately, the cause is not known for this disorder, and no known singular effective treatment. There are charities that help promote awareness, inclusion, and determination for those with ASD. Some of these charities are: The Asperger-Autism Network, Achievement Centers for Children, Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, and a few others.
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. In 2010 they launched their “Light it up Blue” campaign and invited everyone to raise awareness about the health concerns that accompany autism by shining a blue light on World Autism Awareness Day.
Over 18,000 buildings worldwide have joined the campaign, from the Great Buddha in Japan and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro to the Empire State Building in New York and the CN Tower in Toronto. If you would like to help promote Autism awareness, please visit autismspeaks.org to donate.