World Autism Week
This week is World Autism Week. Autism affects over 1 in 100 people. While the rates are different around the world, chances are you can name at least ten people you know with the disorder. Autism is hard to define as a disorder because it runs over a spectrum of barely noticeable, to debilitating.
What is Autism?
Autism is known as a complex developmental disability and defined as a disorder that is present from early childhood where the individual has difficulty forming relationships and communicating. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function. It tends to affect as much as four times as many males. People with a family history of autism, are much more likely to have another autistic family member.
You can start seeing signs between 2 and 3 years of age, sometimes even as early as 18 months. Autism can also be referred to as autism spectrum disorder. The term spectrum reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths each person with autism has. It affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.
The mild version of Autism is called Asperger’s Syndrome. People who have Asperger’s are generally considered to have very mild autism. Autism generally is noticed during childhood when there are issues of pace while learning at school. Some people notice that their child is having trouble making friends, or interacting with adults and kids.
There are many symptoms that are presented as autistic. The Mayo Clinic defines these as failure to notice their name, poor eye contact, the child likes to be alone, can’t follow directions, and delayed speech. Other symptoms include not understanding simple phrases or questions, being unemotional, or they can’t recognize facial expressions.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for autism. If you think your child may have any of these symptoms, or unusual behavioral characteristics, it is important to seek a doctor. They may refer your child to a specialty therapist.
What Causes Autism?
A very common question people ask is what causes autism? It is important to note that there is not one cause. Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. These influences may increase the risk that a child will develop autism, but remember that an increased risk is not the same as a cause.
Did this blog post help to raise awareness for Autism Awareness Week? Is there anything we missed that is worth noting? Do you know someone who has autism and wants to share their story? Comment below! For more information, please look at the organization, Autism Speaks.