Autism Awareness Month, in April aims to celebrate and promote acceptance for Autism condition that occurs in one in every 54 children as of 2020 in the United States. Autism Awareness Month was first held in 1972 by the Autism Society, to emphasize, increase and promote public awareness and acceptance.
Autism is a complex developmental condition affecting the patient’s ability to interact and communicate. Autisms spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain, some from a genetic condition and some still unknown.
People with ASD behave and interact differently from most other people. Their learning and communication are performed in different ways and their abilities can vary significantly from one individual to another such as: advanced conversation skills or some can be nonverbal, some need help in their daily lives, others can be independent.
ASD begins before the age of 3 years. ASD can last throughout a person’s life, and symptoms may improve with treatment. Children with ASD gain new skills until around 18 to 24 months of age. After that age they stop gaining new skills and research has shown that they may lose the skills they once had.
Young age kids, teenagers, young adults with ASD may have difficulties developing and maintaining friendships, social communication or understanding what behaviors are expected in different settings of their life, school,work, also associated with conditions such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention and awareness around them it is important to make their life less challenging and more joyful.
In-depth evaluation of your child is often required to address properly the concerns. You can reach out to:
- Developmental pediatricians specialized for children with special needs.
- Child neurologists
- Child psychologists or psychiatrists
- You can also call for a free evaluation from the state. Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) at 919-962-2001.
- Lord C, Risi S, DiLavore PS, Shulman C, Thurm A, Pickles A. Autism from 2 to 9 years of age. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;63(6):694-701.
- Hyman, S.L., Levy, S.E., Myers, S.M., & AAP Council on Children with Disabilities, Section on developmental and behavioral pediatrics. (2020). Identification, evaluation, and management of children with autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 145(1), e20193447.
- Handleman, J.S., Harris, S., eds. Preschool Education Programs for Children with Autism (2nd ed). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. 2000.
- National Research Council. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.
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