This April marks the 12th annual Autism Awareness month which is dedicated to spreading awareness and promoting acceptance and appreciation for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder. It encompasses a broad range of conditions that vary in severity and are often characterized by difficulty with social skills, speech, repetitive behaviors, and nonverbal communication. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that each person who has ASD is affected differently. According to the CDC, 1 in 59 children in the United States is affected by Autism. Some people who are diagnosed with autism may require extensive support throughout their lives while others may need less support and can even live independently.
There is no single cause of autism in a child. Autism is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. ASD is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities, seizures or sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and attention issues.
Indicators usually appear in children by age 2 or 3. While children do not outgrow autism, it is treatable, and research has shown that early intervention is incredibly important to improved quality of life. Some of the signs of autism include:
- Little or no eye contact
- Speech delay or lack of spoken language
- Lack of interest in relationships with others
- Lack of spontaneous or imaginative play
- Repetitive language or motor mannerisms
If you have any concerns about your child’s developmental milestones make an appointment at PCG Kids for an evaluation—early intervention is key!
The purpose of having an Autism Awareness Month is to raise awareness. So, here are 10 things you can do to raise awareness about autism:
- Post about autism on social media- share stories of those on the spectrum and the friends and family who support them
- Get involved in a club at your workplace or your kids’ school
- Wear blue for Autism Awareness
- Thank the teachers and therapists who are actively making a difference in the lives of people living with autism
- Donate your time or money to a non-profit Autism charity
- Read a book about Autism
- Organize or participate in an Autism event in your community
- Wear an Autism Awareness puzzle piece pin or ribbon and when someone asks about it take the time to educate them
- Spend quality time with a family member or friend who has Autism
- Share your own story! Awareness starts in our communities. If you live with or care for someone who is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder take the opportunity this month to share your story with friends, family, classmates, or coworkers.