Every April, several organizations in America come together to raise awareness for autism, discuss the signs, and share resources for families and individuals living with autism. Defined by the CDC as a developmental disability that affects behavior, learning, and the interpretation of sensory stimuli by the brain, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is indeed just that – a spectrum. Nearly 1 in 44 children have been diagnosed with varying levels of ASD, making it a common disorder. This April, First Care Clinics will discuss the signs of ASD and ways to advocate for autism awareness.
Common Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
While a diagnosis can be performed as early as age two, teens and adults use the same set of testing criteria. It is important to know that autism presents differently in females and males and can be moderate to severe. These are the most common behavioral signs of ASD:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Limited knowledge of social interaction
- Difficulty relating to others
- Trouble expressing and understanding emotions
- Heavy reliance on routine and resistance to change
- Unusual reactions to various sensory stimuli
- Incredible interest in specific hobbies or subjects
- Challenges with speech and communication
Ways to Support ASD
There are three essential ways to support autism awareness: education, participation, and giving.
Educate yourself and others using reliable resources from trusted, fact-based organizations. We recommend reading books, watching documentaries, and listening to first-hand accounts from those with ASD. This can be done by yourself, with children, and with friends.
Find an organization that provides necessary resources for people with disabilities and discover ways to use your time for bettering society. Unfortunately, there is still little known about this disorder. Options like therapy, community, and education centers for those with ASD are rare, understaffed, and unsubsidized. Volunteering can be a great way to improve these current resources.
Support can also be shown through giving. Building up organizations through funds is essential as, without money, resources can not continue to help the ASD community. Of course, not everyone is able to spare money for donations but finding ways to connect groups you are invested in with ASD-related organizations can create financial stability. These are some of the great agencies that work directly with the ASD community: The Autism Society, SPARK, National Autism Association, and INSAR.
Ultimately, First Care Clinics wishes for those diagnosed with ASD to know one thing: you are not alone! We encourage you to find a safe community where you feel free to be yourself and receive any supplemental aid needed whether it be friendship, therapy, or a creative outlet. For those interested in learning more about ASD and the resources available to support both families and individuals with ASD, we recommend that you check out the CDC’s list of trusted sources.