By Emily Squance, Blogger
About 1 in 54 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Every individual with the disorder may have a different degree to which it affects them. There are mild cases of autism to very severe cases. Depending on how severe the case, the disorder can affect each body differently. For example, early signs of the disorder may include, avoiding eye contact, wanting to be alone or even delayed speech. As children with autism age, they may lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is partially due to how the disorder affects the person’s brain.
Autism affects the brain’s ability to process information. The sensory areas of the brain in people with autism showed more random activity than in individuals without autism. The most random activity occurred in those with the most severe cases of autism. In very severe cases, it can cause meltdowns, hyperactivity and aggression. Therefore, depending on the severity of the disorder, the symptoms can vary due to how it uniquely affects each individual brain.
Like many disorders, there is a stigma within society about autism. It’s important to educate yourself and others on the disorder and how it affects the people around you. There are many ways to learn about the disorder and support the people who live with it.
The Autism Society aims to further increase awareness on autism signs, symptoms and opportunities through information, referrals, events, printable/digital resources and community partnerships with businesses and organizations dedicated to building inclusive experiences. The Miracle Project is a non-profit organization that is a “fully inclusive theater, film and expressive arts program focused on building communication, self-esteem, job and social skills for individuals with autism and all abilities – speaking and non-speaking.” They provide both social skill and musical theater courses while also coordinating theatrical and vocal shows with their members. They have updates on their website about their events and ways to get involved! The organization also frequently posts on their Facebook account with updates on their musicals and how to attend!
The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) is another great resource for parents and teens to learn more about disorders like autism so that people with these disorders can be given the opportunity to live their best lives. The OCALI website even has learning modules that provide high-quality information and professional development for anyone who supports, instructs, works with or lives with someone with autism. Participants can even select from over 40 modules to complete at their own time and pace.
Take advantage of the month of April by understanding autism and promoting the organizations raising awareness for it!