Saturday, April 5, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

Copyright © Lawren Smith

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This week I am not going to discuss anything regarding network marketing. Because April is Autism Awareness month, I am going to focus my discussion on the topic of autism. This subject is close to my heart because my nephew is autistic. He was diagnosed with autism around the age of two or more. I too was recently diagnosed with a form of autism called “asperger syndrome”.

First, I will describe “what is autism?” According to Autism Society of America, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in areas of social interaction and communication skills.

Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. One should keep in mind that autism is a spectrum disorder, and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees. This is why early diagnosis is so crucial.

According to MayoClinic, in general, children with autism have problems in three crucial areas of development-social skills, language, and behavior. The most severe autism is marked by a complete inability to communicate or interact with other people.

Below are a list of the signs:

Social Skills:

  • Fails to respond to his or her name.
  • Has poor eye contact.
  • Appears to not hear you at times.
  • Resists cuddling or holding.
  • Appears unaware of other’s feelings.
  • Seems to prefer playing alone-retreats into his or her “own world”
  • Starts talking later than other children.
  • Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences.
  • Does not make eye contact when making requests.
  • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm-may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech.
  • Can’t start a conversation or keep it going.
  • May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them.
  • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning, or hand-flipping.
  • Develops specific routines or rituals.
  • Become disturbed at the slightest change in rituals or routines.
  • Moves constantly.
  • May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car.
  • Maybe unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch.
Other Autism Spectrum Disorders

Asperger’s Syndrome – A child with asperger’s disorder has the same common problems as children with autism however they don’t have language development problems of a autistic child.

Pervasive Development Disorder – and not otherwise specified (PDD – NOS) – This child has autism but doesn’t meet the criteria for high functioning autism.

High-Functioning Autism – This child has autism but has normal learning and cognitive and learning skills. Learning development is different initially but they become proficient eventually.

How is Autism Treated?

There is no cure for autism, but doctors, therapists, and special teachers can help kids with autism overtime or adjust to may difficulties.

Different kids need different kinds of help, but learning how to communicate is always an important first step. Spoken language can be hard for kids with autism to learn. Most understand words better by seeing them, so therapists teach them how to communicate by pointing or using pictures or sign language. This makes learning other things easier and eventually, many kids with autism learn to talk.

Therapists also help kids learn social skills, such as how to greet people, wait for a turn, and follow directions. Some kids need special help with learning skills (like brushing teeth or making a bed). Others have trouble sitting still or controlling their tempers and need therapy to help their moods and behavior, but there’s no medicine that will make a kid’s autism go away.

Students with mild autism sometimes can go to regular school. But most kids with autism need calmer, more orderly surroundings. They also need teachers trained to understand the problems they have with communicating and learning. They may learn at home or in special classes at public or private schools.

Living with Autism

Some kids with mild autism will grow up and be able to live on their own. Those with more serious problems will always need some kind of help. But, all kids with autism have brighter futures with the support and understanding of doctors, teachers, caregivers, parents, brothers, sisters, and friends.


Lawren Smith is a member of $9.97MakeMoneyNow and writes on a variety of subjects. To learn more about this topic, Lawren recommends you visit:

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