Did you know that the month of April is Autism Awareness Month? It provides an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year.
So what exactly is autism? According to Autism Society, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of symptoms and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes.
Some of the symptoms often associated with autism include:
- delayed learning of language
- difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation
- difficulty with higher level thinking related to reasoning and planning
- narrow, intense interests
- poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities
The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder should only be made by a qualified medical professional familiar with all of the issues that can be attributed to it. Due to little understood reasons, the number of people diagnosed with autism has grown astronomically in the last few decades. But thankfully through initiatives such as Autism Awareness Month, people who are not informed about it, are becoming more aware and sensitive to its impact on the persons who do have it.