Friday, February 14, 2014

Autism Awareness

 In case you didn't know it... I'm a talker!
     
             ...I use my outside voice when I'm inside,

               ...I talk when I should be listening  (although I try really hard not to!)

                   ...I use my hands, I giggle, I even snort from time to time

There are times when I know I need to be quiet and I try very hard to bite my tongue.  I try not to interject my opinion and instead but the perfect listener that is needed at that moment.  I try to be the person that everyone knows they can come to when they need an ear... not a mouth, but sometimes I just can't help myself...

This is one of those times, so listen up...

                                  

Autism affects 1 in 88 children; 1 in 54 boys. World Autism Awareness Day is not until April 2nd but  this is a cause that I want to be sure to share with everyone I can reach.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a general term that deals with disorders of the brain development.  There are a variety of stages, but difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication issues, and repetitive behaviors are the most common signs for ASD in general.  Some people with ASD have extreme talents in visual skills, music, math and art.

What causes autism?

Just as there is no one type of autism, there is no one cause.  Much research and studying has been done and in the last few years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes aand mutations that are associated with autism.  it seems that most cases of autism, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.   The clearest evidence of these risk factors involve events before and during pregnancy; advanced parental age at time of conception, maternal illness during pregnancy, and certain difficulties during pregnancy (oxygen deprivation to the baby's brain).  These risks alone do not cause autism, but in combination these increase the risk.

What does it mean to be "On the Spectrum"?

Everyone is different.  Each of us in unique whether we are on the spectrum or not.  About 40% of these individuals on the spectrum, are considered to have average or above average intellectual abilities.  Others with significant disabillities are often unable to live independently.  Roughly 25% of those individuals with autism are nonverbal, but have other means of communicating.

What can I do?

Learn about ASD! Understand that these are individuals just like you and me... they want to be loved just like we do!  You can get involved with an organization like Autism Speaks or the Autism Society of Indiana (or your local area).  These organizations provide support to families of ASD, create special events for ASD people to participate in, as well as take monetary donations to get additional resources for those dealing with ASD.  You can join in the journey by participating in one of the Autism Speaks Walks that occur all over the world... walk in support of those dealing with ASD.

                                         

Autism Awareness is a passion that I have.  I work with students everyday that are trying to learn how they fit into a world that doesn't understand ASD.  One of my goals is to make this world a better place for those struggling with ASD.