10 Important Autism Facts For Autism Awareness Month

April Is Autism Awareness Month, So Here Are 10 Things You Should Be Aware Of

It is NOT a disease, nor a burden.

174
views

As someone with a sibling of autism, autism has always been present in my family and I's lives. We have all grown and learned so much ever since the moment we found out that my younger brother was diagnosed with autism, and it has all been for the better.

However, not many others have had the same experience as me of having a family member or loved one on the spectrum, and do not know a few important things about autism itself.

In honor of April being Autism Awareness Month, I decided to collect ten important things that everyone should know about autism as a way to help spread more awareness about these individuals, the experiences they endure, and simply how amazing they are.

1. Roughly 70 million individuals around the world are currently diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) 

In the US, it is the fastest growing developmental disability.

2. In the United States alone, about 1 in 68 children are diagnosed

Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls, where 1 out of 37 boys are diagnosed annually.

3. All cases of autism are different from the other, since it falls on a spectrum

If you meet two people with autism, they are each going to have different experiences. Every individual with autism is unique because they might have different sensitivities, or have different specific interests.

4. Individuals with ASD can be diagnosed as early as 18 months to two years old

In some cases, it's a lot more difficult to notice these signs in a child, but they gradually begin to become more noticeable as the child grows older. Studies have shown that early intervention can help improve the child's development with social, cognitive, communication, motor, and behavioral skills, which is often done through various therapeutic fields.

5. Some individuals with ASD are nonverbal or have difficulty with speech

Roughly one-third of individuals with autism are nonverbal. However, those with autism who can speak still face challenges, such as communication and figurative language, motor issues, etc.

6. There's no singular cause for autism

While genetics is one of the more common causes in cases, research shows that environmental factors are also one some of the causes for autism.

7. People with autism experience sensory sensitivities

To us, a simple beat or tune in a song might sound pleasing, but to someone with ASD, this sound might be unpleasant or painful to hear. Individuals with autism are highly sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, and sights, so everyday occurrences to us might be more difficult for someone with ASD to take in.

8. Autism-related costs for families average over $60,000 per year

With back and forth doctor and therapist visits, specific dieting, special education costs and more, families can struggle financially if they have a child with autism. This is also the case because when the child is older, they receive healthcare services half as often as others who had special healthcare needs, or don't receive any healthcare at all after they can no longer see a pediatrician.

9. Over half of teenagers or young adults with ASD don't receive any higher education or remain unemployed after they finish high school

There is already a lack of special education resources for people with ASD, but once they become full adults, they are unable to receive any further education or higher employment that is catered to their beneficial needs. Typically, they can acquire jobs as janitors, grocery store baggers, etc., but these underpaid jobs are still not enough for them nor their families to receive enough money for services that they need to pay.

10. People on the autism spectrum are amazing human beings and will continue to achieve wonderful things

There are a few celebrities with autism, such as Dan Akroyd and Susan Boyle, who have accomplished amazing things despite their disability, which shows strength and that they can do anything. All individuals with ASD are loving, caring, and talented people who deserve the world, and will continue to make it stronger.

Popular Right Now

Why Working With Special Populations Doesn't Make Me A Good Person

What you're missing from the bigger picture.
25889
views

"What do you do?" might be one of my least favorite questions. Let me tell you why.

I am currently a registered behavior technician at a wonderful program (MAP) nestled in the heart of North Carolina. Usually, when I tell someone what I do, their response is either an uncertain nod or a plain look of confusion. At that time, I break it down by saying, “Basically, I work with children who have autism."

Now, more times than not, the response I receive is along the lines of, “Wow, that's so amazing of you", or my personal favorite, “Good for you. I could NEVER do that."

I understand that working with special populations isn't for everyone, just like being a neurosurgeon isn't for everyone. But, working with special needs children doesn't make me a good person, a saint, or a hero. Every time someone tells you he/she is a teacher, do you gasp and express how much you could NOT be a teacher?

What about when you meet a pediatrician? These people work with children just like I do. I'm certain if you spent one day in my shoes you would see just how much you COULD do my job.

Maybe not all of the technical work, but after a day with these children, you would be humbled by how much you could learn from them.

After all, these children are just children. They want to be accepted just like every other child.

They want to be understood and to be part of a community just like the rest of us.

My job has given me the opportunity to get to know a handful of the more than 3.5 million Americans on the spectrum. I've gotten to know each of their personalities, their quirks, and what makes them unique. I can't help but imagine a world where everyone gets to know these individuals as I have.

A world where we accept all of those who might appear or act different from us and educate ourselves on these populations. A world where that education helps us see that they aren't so different from us after all.

Working with individuals with special needs doesn't make me a good person, because I do it for selfish reasons.

I work with them because I don't know what my life would be like without them. They have taught me so much and changed my life in so many ways. I get to play a small hand in these children's lives. I get to help them learn fundamental life skills you and I take for granted.

But, I also get to leave work every day having learned a lesson. These children have taught me to be a better version of myself and to appreciate even the smallest of things life has to offer. Each day they challenge me to laugh more, have more fun, and not take myself so seriously. They show me more love than I ever knew possible. Maybe it isn't with their words. Maybe it's with the smiles and giggles when we're singing their favorite song, or the way they look at me when they finally get something they have been working so hard to learn.

The hugs, the kisses, and the moments where our two worlds collide and we finally connect; these are the moments that remind me how much these children have to offer the rest of us. If only we would take the time to let them teach us, we would be more selfless, less judgmental, and have a greater appreciation for life.

April is National Autism Awareness Month.

My hope is that this month we work to spread awareness for Autism, as well as other special needs. We take this time to learn something new, to help educate others, and to stop looking at these individuals as though they need special people in their lives to help teach them and focus more on opening our minds to the things they can teach us.

Explore Odyssey's featured Autism Awareness content here.

Cover Image Credit: Katharine Smith

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Misconceptions Of Autism That Everyone Needs To Be Educated On

Autism is a subject that I know is avoided or is touchy to some.

237
views

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that identifies the different social and communication skills an individual will have troubles understanding. It becomes challenging to them.

The CDC states that every 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with this disorder in the U.S.

From an outsider's perspective, autism is a subject that can be misinterpreted in many ways. The media, government, and all sources have had thoughts on how one is diagnosed or if it is even a disorder. This has caused people to come up with different myths and misconceptions about the topic.

Over the course of college, I have been exposed to different scenarios that have made me understand the root of these different misconceptions.

1. Vaccines cause your child to have autism 

According to the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there is no direct correlation between getting your child vaccinated and your child being diagnosed with autism. This myth is derived from an ingredient in vaccines called thimerosal. Which happens to have mercury in it, which people assumed to cause the disability. In 2004, the IOM found that there was no correlation between vaccines that had thimerosal and children being diagnosed with autism.

2. Autism is considered as one condition

Autism is better known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Which means autism varies on the spectrum, as there is low functioning autism and there is high functioning. Low functioning is when a child has a hard time completing different day to day activities. Such as brushing your teeth, eating on your own, etc. High functioning autism results in being used to order and schedules. I experienced in the camp I was a counselor for that the kids enjoyed having a visual schedule. I learned that having everything written out and showing what was coming up next was something that was essential to get through the day.

3. Individuals with autism can’t function on their own

Depending where on the spectrum the individual may be, the functions will vary. This ties back to determining whether they are high functioning or low functioning. There are several programs implemented that assists children and adults with ASD to get them through school or find a job. This doesn't mean that they are unable to function on their own. They are just given the resources needed so they can have the same opportunities that typically developed individuals do.

4. Individuals that have autism are disabled intellectually

In fact, children and adults with autism have either normal or high IQ's. When working with kids with autism I noticed that these individuals have a specific spark of interest to a particular subject. Such as science, trains, specific bugs, etc. If you were to ask them about their favored topic they can tell you almost anything and everything about it. They are the brightest kids I have ever met. They make you see different aspects of life and how they see it through their eyes and it can give you a different outlook on life as a whole.

5. Emotions aren’t understood at all by someone with autism

It is easy for people to assume that individuals with autism experience emotions differently than a typically developed individual. In fact, emotions are just expressed differently with individuals. Communication is different, therefore the emotions will be projected differently as well. Autism does also cause the inability to underestimate the different emotions others are experiencing or expressing when interacting with an individual with ASD.

Explore Odyssey's featured Autism Awareness content here.

Related Content

Facebook Comments