April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. According to AutismSpeaks, this disorder affects approximately one in every 110 children and one in every 70 boys! Autism is now more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism. Government statistics suggest the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10 to 17 percent annually and experts aren’t certain on the cause of the increase.
Signs of autism tend to make themselves known within the first couple years of life. Repetitive behavior is one of the most noticeable signs a child may exhibit when they have this disorder. They may flap their hands, roll their heads, and rock back and forth. They may also be compelled to stack or arrange things in lines.
Autistic people like things to stay the same. If they’re used to things being one way, they don’t like those things to be altered. They may also be prone to harming themselves physically. They might poke themselves, bite themselves, bang their heads repeatedly against the floor or wall, or relentlessly pick at their skin.
Autistic people may not be the “norm”, and their behavior may strike others as a bit odd, but many of them possess great abilities to do things that otherwise “normal” people are not capable of doing. They may be able to play the piano without ever being taught, or be magnificent artists. People with these extraordinary abilities are called “autistic savants”.
With Autism affecting so many children and families, April is a good month to help raise awareness of this condition, signs of autism, and treatment options.
Read more about Autism: