Human Growth & Development · Special Needs

Autism Sunday

Autism Sunday was started in 2002 in the United Kingdom during Autism Awareness year. It continues as a day to bring awareness to a very confusing and often misdiagnosed disorder.

So what exactly is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

The Global Autism Project defines it as “pervasive neuro-developmental condition which affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others”. People with ASD are not considered “autistic”, but rather, they “have autism”.  It is a very complex medical disorder.

ASD looks different with every person it effects. The behaviors range from minor to severe, which refers to the “spectrum”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that roughly 1 in 59 children have been diagnosed with ASD. Of those numbers, the majority are boys and the numbers continue to increase.

No one really knows what causes ASD. There are some indications that it is a combination of genetics and environment, but there are still no definitive conclusions. It is believed to develop while the mom is pregnant or within the first three years of life. Many of the symptoms are episodic, so a pediatrician may not notice them during a routine check up. But there are red flags.

Some of those red flags are: Reciprocal language is impaired or not present; lack of eye contact; does not respond when name is called; lack of shared attention during interactions; unable to screen out loud or high-pitched noises; an aversion to textures; difficulty calming themselves.

But these are only two of a myriad of symptoms. ASD makes it difficult for people with the disorder to interact on a social level. If you believe your child or a child in your classroom may have ASD, talk to a pediatrician and learn more about the spectrum.

Here are some places to learn more about the topic:

National Institute of Mental Health – Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Society

Autism Speaks

5 thoughts on “Autism Sunday

  1. Visiting from Esme Salon. I have taught many students over my career who are on the spectrum, but only one was really, really challenging. I prayed I would be able to handle him as I am not special ed certified and he definitely required someone with a lot of patience. I can honestly say that I wound up falling in love with that child and he taught me so much more than I ever dreamed.

    1. I’ve found that most children can teach me so much. Children with challenges inspire me to have the same perseverance and curiosity. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  2. Hi, I’m the mom of an adult with autism. Having a supportive community can make so much difference in a child’s life. Each child with autism is unique so I imagine it is difficult to know the right path for each child. But as a parent, I want to thank all teachers that try their best to value each child.

    1. Thank you for your comment Terri. Every child is so unique. I’ve worked with several children with autism and I have learned so much from them. But I’d also like to comment that the parents have so much to do with it all. I believe one of the hardest things in the world is to accept that your child might have any kind of disability or illness. But the parents that take the bull by the horns are the ones that have children that are supported and grow. Sounds to me like you are one of those parents, so thank you.

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