For those who are unaware, today is “World Autism Awareness Day” — I am all for mental health awareness (my blog focuses on both mental and physical health). I think it is good that we keep ourselves educated and aware of current events going on around us, mental health issues/conditions and wanting to understand other people’s experiences. I know autism isn’t anything new, but I know people who suffer from a mild form of it, and some of my family members have worked with kids who suffer from moderate to more severe forms of autism. We have come a long way in science, but still there is no affirmative answer as to how some people become autistic and others don’t. It is believed that both environmental factors and genetics play a part in autistic persons but NO specific environmental causes have been proven yet. For a while I know many people blamed the vaccination that prevented childhood infectious diseases but multiple studies have said that the vaccinations did not increase the chances of autism — not saying that these studies are 100 percent true, because I believe there may be studies who slightly disagree with this claim, but I suppose it all depends on what source is saying what and your thoughts around it after gaining more understanding and research on the topic.
If you are unaware of what autism is, it is characterized as “a developmental disorder that that impairs the ability to communicate and interact”. With this being said, it doesn’t mean that everyone with autism cannot speak or form sentences, or is mute; I have a client with autism, who functions and speaks just the same — as said before, some have mild forms and others have more moderate or severe forms of autism.
Common signs of autism?
- Social impairment and communication difficulties — some people find social interactions difficult. Simply avoiding eye contact, not respond to their name, children with autism may find they would rather be alone (play games by themselves vs playing with other children), many people with autism may have a difficult time with talking about their feelings and understanding other people’s feelings. Delayed speech, no speech, inappropriate forms of speech, awkwardness while talking, may repeat phrases, or give unrelated answers to questions.. etc.
- Repetitive & characteristic behaviors: Repetitive movements or unusual behaviors, become obsessive over certain topics, preoccupied with certain aspects of a toy, many people with autism thrive from routine (changes can be challenging for them), anger or emotional outburst. etc.
There are more signs I hadn’t listed but this gives you somewhat of an understanding but it’s always good to get more information from your medical doctor or a specialist in the area of mental health who can provide more answers.
Treatments can include medications that DON’T CURE OR TREAT MAIN SYMPTOMS, medications can help some of the symptoms (anxiety, depression, obsessive behavior), another treatment is “educational & behavioral interventions (which have been proven to be helpful)
Diagnosing autism can be difficult at times because of the fact that sometimes symptoms go unrecognized for a period of time & not everyone experiences the same type of symptoms.
Some early on indicators might be:
- poor eye contact
- no response to name
- no babbling or pointing by age 1
- no smiling or social responsiveness
just to name a few. Later indicators:
- impaired ability to make friends with peers
- repetitive or unusual use of language
- abnormally intense or focused interest
- preoccupation of certain objects or subjects
plus more that I haven’t listed. Again, the best thing to do is ask questions to medical professionals or do your own research, because even if you don’t know anyone who suffers from autism, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever come into contact with someone who doesn’t have it. Hopefully this information was somewhat helpful and more of you share your own tidbits of information in the comment sections; thanks for reading, comment, like, and share!