Learn & Support April Autism Awareness

April 09, 2019

Learn & Support April Autism Awareness

What Is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today. There is no cure.

We know that there is not one autism, but many subtypes, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.

Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues as well as health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four distinct autism diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They included autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

What Is Asperger Syndrome?

Typical to strong verbal language skills and intellectual ability distinguish Asperger syndrome from other forms of autism. Asperger syndrome generally involves difficulty with social interactions, restricted interests, desire for sameness. Strengths can include remarkable focus and persistence, aptitude for recognizing patterns, great attention to detail. Challenges can include hypersensitivities (to lights, sounds, tastes, etc.), inability to recognize nonverbal social clues, uncoordinated or clumsy movements, as well as anxiety and depression.

History is full of people who many consider to be or have been somewhere on the autism spectrum. Here to name a few: Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jerry Seinfeld and Andy Warhol.

How you can help.

The perseverance and strength of  many people with autism has enabled them to overcome their challenges, and move forward to make unique and significant contributions to society, changing our world in extraordinary ways and adding beauty and knowledge to our lives. Your understanding and support for those on the Spectrum will motivate them to live their most happy and fulfilled lives, integrated into our diverse world

For additional information and resources visit autismspeaks.com- the world's leading Autism science organization. To make a donation you may also visit autismspeaks.com.



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