Autism Awareness Month has been celebrated every April for nearly 50 years. But now that this developmental disability has become a household name, some organizations have begun to advocate for a shift in focus from just raising awareness to advocating for acceptance.
In one way or another, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has touched many of our lives. Whether your connection is a family member or a friend, you have likely already developed some level of awareness of this disorder.
From movies to television shows to news articles, autistic individuals have become a part of our everyday lives, raising public awareness to an all-time high. Now some advocacy organizations, including the Autism Society, believe that this Autism Awareness Month is the right time to switch the emphasis to acceptance.
According to the CDC, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that causes significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.”
The American Psychiatric Association now groups four previously distinct related diagnoses into a single category known as Autism spectrum disorder, which includes:
Today, more than two percent of American adults and one in every 54 children in the United States have been diagnosed with a disorder on the Autism spectrum.
Diagnoses of ASD, which occur across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, have increased in recent decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, one in every 2,000 children had been diagnosed with ASD.
Autism influences learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities in a wide range of ways — from mild to moderate to severe. Signs of ASD tend to start early in childhood and its symptoms usually last through life. Unlike other developmental disabilities, individuals with Autism do not have physical characteristics that distinguish them from others.
Although treatment is often very effective, Autism spectrum disorders are not curable. Research has shown that early diagnosis and intervention services can help improve a child’s development. Therapy sessions can help autistic children successfully learn practical skills, including talking, walking and interacting with others.
Developmental screenings can help to determine if a child would benefit from this type of treatment. All children should receive screenings for developmental delays and disabilities during well-child visits at nine months, 18 months and 24 or 30 months of age.
Advantage Care Health Centers offers many different services specifically designed to support individuals and families with Autism spectrum disorders. Our trained health care professionals can develop individualized treatment recommendations to address social, emotional, communication, cognitive, adaptive, affective and behavioral development.
Contact us during Autism Awareness Month to request an appointment.