5 years ago · Leah Fogt · Comments Off on World Autism Awareness Day
April 2, 2014 is World Autism Awareness Day and the whole month of April is National Autism Awareness month. In honor of the occasion, many people are wearing blue today. Many communities and companies worldwide will be illuminating their buildings in blue to show support and awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders. How much do YOU know about Autism?
The Autism Society defines Autism as:
“…A complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.”
Autism Spectrum Disorders are treatable, but they do not “go away.” With early diagnosis and intervention, children with Autism can learn adaptive skills and self-regulatory strategies, increase social skills, and experience overall improved quality of life. Their families can receive crucial resources, supports, and education
These are just some of the indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorders:
- Lack of, limited, or delayed development of spoken language skills
- Repetitive mannerisms like hand-flapping, twirling objects, or body rocking
- Echolalia – the repeated use of a word or phrase over and over again
- Limited or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships, trouble making friends
- Lack of make-believe play
- Trouble having empathy for others, understanding another’s perspective
- Fixation on parts of objects
- Need for routine and predictability, trouble adapting to change
To offer a more personal perspective, I asked my good friend Irene, the mother of a boy with Autism to tell me a little about her son and what it’s like to parent him. Here’s what she told me:
What is the most important thing you would like people to know about Autism?
- I would love for people to know that if you have met one autistic person, you have met ONE autistic person! All autistic people are different and they each have their own talents and their own symptoms.
What do you enjoy the most about your child?
- I enjoy the fact that I have a 12 year old child who still loves to snuggle with his mommy and play peek a boo with me! And each time he learns a new word or does something for the first time it makes me very happy.
What could society do to be more inclusive of your child and more welcoming to your family?
- I would love for when people meet my son and realize that he is non verbal to still talk to him. He may not respond to you but he is still a 12 year old boy and he can still hear you. So when you meet someone like Malik please say hi to him like you would any other child and talk to him. Even if it’s me answering you for him or maybe a parent is working on his/her social skills and wants him/her to make the attempt to say hello to you. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! Most parents that I talk to would rather you ask questions than just stare when our children are having a meltdown or making noises that you are not used to.
Any other comments you would like to share?
- Just remember that autism mommas can sometimes be annoying, it’s from our lack of sleep! We have had to fight for most things for our kids so we can be protective. And yes we may seem to only talk about autism sometimes because it rules our lives but one of the best things you can do for any autism parent is to just listen to them or offer to help out in some way. Believe me, any parent will love any help they can get!
What a positive perspective! Irene is an amazing and courageous woman!
You can learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders, get involved in activism, or make a donation for research and supportive services with the Autism Society at http://www.autism-society.org/.
Categories: Awareness and News