Autism is a condition that has been misunderstood for a long time. Up until recently, the cause of this debilitating condition was not known, and as a result, many children and adults alike got misdiagnosed. Autism Awareness Month is upon us once more, and this is a time to let go of all the misleading information that is in the hands of the general public.
Autism is a development disorder caused by a mix of several factors. These include genetic mutation, prenatal conditions that impeded the brain development of a child, and environmental attributes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in every 88 children (updated in March 2012) in the United States has autism.
It also noted an increase in boys being at higher risk than girls – “5 Times More which was increased from 4″. These glaring statistics have been on the upsurge, perhaps due to better awareness and increased reporting.
Autism Awareness Month is important in the sense that it will help parents and families recognize autism symptoms in their children and take appropriate steps in managing the condition.
Children with autism have trouble when it comes to communication, and sometimes find it hard to think in conventional terms. An interesting side effect to this affliction however, is the fact that some of these children have above average IQ and are consummate painters and musicians. They also excel in subjects like mathematics, physics and the sciences. However, not all are lucky – some are severely impacted by the condition and may not be able to function normally without assistance.
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The International Autism Awareness month has been celebrated since the 1970s, and the Autism Awareness Puzzle ribbon has been a prominent fixture when April comes. This ribbon is a signifier of the month and is worn by people who have been affected by the condition in one way or another.
Most people who have autism are full of life and are no different from me and you, and by wearing this ribbon, you will be playing a part in educating the public on this issue and help diagnose and catch cases of autism early before they become unmanageable.
World Autism Awareness Month April 2012
Autism Awareness Month, observed during the month of April, sets the stage for discussions, events and debates on autism. It is also estimated that up to 67 million people in the world live with autism, and advocacy groups like Autism Speaks are doing their part in sensitizing people on the causes of the condition, and management regimens available for those afflicted.
Statistics also point to the fact that up to 25 percent of people with autism face significant communication hurdles. This means that they might build on their nonverbal communication skills. It takes a lot of patience and love to care for an autistic individual, and it gets better with time. Cognitive exercises coupled with a fundamental understanding of the condition in scientific terms can go a long way in alleviating the discomfort such individuals face on a daily basis.
Technological advances have come to the aid of autism sufferers. Recently, a robot named Kaspar was introduced to help children with autism understand facial expressions. The robot is programmed to smile, laugh and frown, and repeated interaction with autistic children teaches them to differentiate between these different facial variations of human emotions, allowing them to develop appropriate social skills that will help them interact normally in society.
Autism Awareness Day is the 2nd of April, and it is on this day many private organizations come together to rally behind the cause. Governments all over the world are being lobbied by interest groups. Medication for the condition can sometimes be costly, and these organizations are fighting to have health authorities lower the prices and subsidize the cost of treatment. This will go a long way to ease the burden on caregivers, and lessen the stigma brought upon the victims of autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of ailments that run the gamut that is autism. Some of them include Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder and repetitive disorder. Autism seems to affect motor function and cognitive development. It is most prominent in children that are three years old and under.
It has been shown that mothers who take vitamin supplements, specifically folic acid during and after conception are at a reduced risk of giving birth to children that are autistic. Autism Awareness Month 2012 seeks to have this kind of information disseminated to the general public, in the hopes that the condition can be rolled back even before it starts.
Developmental screening is one of the ways in which autism can be diagnosed. Autism Awareness Month is a perfect opportunity for mothers to take their children to doctors for tests to determine if the children are on par with the developmental stages they should be at. Any discrepancies can be noted. However, this is not a guaranteed marker for autism, and it is important to note that only qualified medical professionals can diagnose the condition.
Autism is not something that affects a particular group. This is a condition that cuts across the board in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomic background and race. Let’s join hands this coming Autism Awareness Month and offer help to those who need it by educating ourselves and our loved ones about the condition.