April is finally here and is a month to bring awareness to Child Abuse Prevention and also to those who are dealing with Autism. Today is Light It Up Blue Day. Even if you aren’t affected by Autism, take time to wear blue, or even head to home depot and buy a blue light bulb. That few dollars that it costs in nothing compared to what the families of those affected with Autism face each and every day.
Facts about Autism: (Via Autism Speaks)
- Autism affects 1 in every 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
- Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the US
- Autism costs a family on average $60,000 a year
- Boys are 5 times more likely to have autism then girls
- There is no medical detection or cure for Autism
What is Autism? According to the formal definition from Merriam-Webster;
-Autism is a developmental disorder that appears by the age of three and is variable in expression. It is recognized and diagnosed by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by stereotyped behavior patterns.
What are some of the signs to look for if you think your child may have Autism? According to the CDC here are some possible “red flags” that you would need to watch for.
Possible “Red Flags”
A person with ASD might:
- Not respond to their name by 12 months of age
- Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
- Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
- Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
- Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Have delayed speech and language skills
- Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Give unrelated answers to questions
- Get upset by minor changes
- Have obsessive interests
- Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
- Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
(check out the CDC website for more information)
This subject touches my heart tremendously. Being in the profession I am in, I have come across many children, never two alike. I have come across the quiet ones, the ones who are more rebellious, the ones who would give their shirt off their back already, the ones who are leaders, the ones who are followers. Then there are the ones that the others would call “different”. My response to those people who say that is “They are not different, they are unique. Just like me and you, we are unique.” There are children who are low functioning on the spectrum and there are children who are high functioning. But just remember that just because you have ran into with one child/person with Autism doesn’t mean you have ran into every child with Autism. Just like snowflakes, each child is different. They have different personalities, different dislikes, different behaviors.
As I close this post out, remember if you are somewhere and there is a child having a “meltdown”, not listening, or doesn’t make eye contact…respect them and don’t stare. Until you have lived in their shoes, you have no reason to judge them because they could in fact be the 1 in 68 children.