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 CDC in 2020, 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), its 4 times more common among boys than girls and it occurs in ALL racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. There is not one autism but many subtypes. 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 to 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. Indicators of ASD normally surface by age 2 or 3 but can also be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism. There is NO “ one size fits all” so all levels of support must be customized for each individual.
Due to their communication challenges, they often times have difficulty expressing their needs and wants – also engaging with others. Coupled with the communication challenge it can make them a target of violence and abuse which some may not understand or bring attention to. It is so important for us to be aware of the non-verbal cues and provide alternative augmentative communication.
In our society it is very possible to be aware of something but not accept it- for example, autism is a global challenge across the world but is not accepting it a country or nation has not provided adequate care, resource centers, vocational training, funding, grants, residential programs and support for individuals with ASD.
To all the caregivers worldwide, I want to say a huge thank you for your love, dedication and sacrifice. To my amazing autism community I want you to know that you are valued and loved. You bring so much positivity and purity to our world and today is the day the world recognizes you. Shine Bright!!!World Autism Day: Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusivity !!!