Weekly Clinical Service Dose: National Autism Awareness Month
What is Autism?
Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years). Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause.
People with autism are classed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the terms autism and ASD are often used interchangeably. A wide spectrum disorder, people will autism have set of symptoms unique to themselves; no two people are the same.
Increasing Awareness About the Common Characteristics of Autism
No two people with autism will have the same set of symptoms, there are common characteristics found in those with this complex disability. Autism characteristics may include:
- Social Skills- people with autism have problems interacting with others; autistic children do not have adequate playing and talking skills. Mild symptoms on one end of the spectrum may be displayed through clumsy behavior, being out of sync with those around them and inappropriate or offensive comments being made. At the other end of the spectrum an autistic person may not be interested in others.
- Physical Contact – in some cases, autistic people do not like physical contact such as hugs, tickling or physical play with others.
- Sudden Changes to Their Environment – a sudden change in the surrounding environment may affect a person with autism. The could be a loud noise, a change in intensity of lighting or even a change in smell.
- Speech – speech can be affected in people with autism. ‘Echolalia’ is a typical speech symptom in which the person repeats words and phrases that they hear. The speech tone of an autistic person may be monotonous. Where symptoms are more extreme the person may not speak.
Autism Is Widespread, Awareness About This Condition Is Not
In the United States, autism affects 1 in every 110 children. National Autism Awareness Month aims to make the public more aware about this widespread disability and the issues which arise in the autism community.
As about 1 in 150 people in America have autism, the chances are that you know someone with this disability. A better-informed public will be more empathetic and supportive towards people with autism.
For more information on National Autism Awareness Month visit the Austism Society’s Awareness Page.
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