Autism Awareness Month
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a diagnosis which people of all ages and walks of life experience. Many of us have people we know and love who are diagnosed with ASD. Over 3 million people in the US and many more than that worldwide experience ASD. As of May 2013, diagnoses which were once separate, including autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder, were now brought together to collectively be known as autism spectrum disorder. So what is ASD?
ASD is a developmental disorder in which people experience difficulties with communication, whether verbal or nonverbal, interactions with others, as well as repetitive behaviors. Some people who have ASD may experience intellectual disabilities or difficulties with motor coordination or attention while others may be exceptionally bright or successful in such subjects as math, art, visual skills, or music. Experiences with ASD vary, to say the least.
Currently we are not entirely sure what causes ASD, but research does show that it appears to be related to early brain development. Even though this development appears to start early on, the various signs and symptoms that people with ASD experience tend to present between the ages of 2 and 3. This is the age range where children start to communicate and interact much more frequently with others, which is why we tend to start noticing symptoms then. But if you are questioning the development of your child, at any age, we encourage you to talk with a professional to explore it further.
If someone you know or love has ASD or you wonder whether they may, please don't hesitate to contact someone for more information. Understanding and awareness is power. It is through this that we are able to make sure we all have the best care available. There are plenty of resources out there for people. Some great resources are the Autism Society of Maine, Autism Speaks, and the National Autism Society. Through here, individuals, families, providers, anyone who is interested can get more information. They have tips for communication, behaviors, family support, etc. We highly recommend that you check out these organizations. They do so much to help everyone!