April is Autism Awareness month. This month, we celebrate that every child and adult with Autism is “different, not less.” We also strive to bring awareness and acceptance to the community.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that can cause challenges across communication, behavior, and social skills.
It is referred to as a “spectrum” as it covers a wide range of symptoms.
Characteristics may include:
- Difficulty with social communication/interaction skills
- Decreased referencing/ eye contact
- Difficulty with conversational skills
- Atypical response to anger, distress, affection
- Understanding and using non-verbal communication appropriately (body language, facial expressions)
- Understanding and using appropriate tone of voice and/or prosody
- Difficulty with taking other’s perspectives
- Repetitive behaviors
- Limited and restricted interests
- Difficulty tolerating change or new environments
- Sensitivity to sound, light, touch
- Difficulty with activities of daily living
- Difficulty developing language skills
Autism is prevalent in 1 in 68 children in the United States, being more common among males (4.5 times more). Prevalence is higher in children who have a sibling or family member with ASD.
The CDC reported 46% of children with ASD to have above average intelligence.
The CDC offers complimentary resources for families. The Developmental Milestones checklists/app are free and give insight into expected milestones.
The link is here: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/freematerials.html
What should I do if my child exhibits signs of Autism?
- Contact a developmental pediatrician, a child neurologist, or a child psychiatrist or psychologist for a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation
- Early intervention
- If your child is under age 3, contact the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) 919-962-2001
- If your child is over the age of 3, contact your child’s local public school system