April 2nd was Autism Awareness Day, and though the developmental disorder is becoming more and more common, many still do not know much about Autism. I have been around, and worked with those with disabilities for as long as I can remember. It is so rewarding to me to be such an influence in someone's lives, and sometimes be the only voice that they have.There are many unique things that I have learned about Autism along the way, and in recognition of Autism Awareness Day - sit down, and become aware.
1. Autism is more common in boys than girls
In the three years that I have worked solely with those on the Autism spectrum, I have never met a girl with Autism. Don't get me wrong, they do exist. Dakota Fanning does a great job in playing an autistic teenager in the movie "Please Stand By." Still, it is not very common.
2. Researchers have found that children with Autism have a larger amygdala
Your amygdala is the part of the brain involved with emotion. It is believed that the larger amygdala size may influence the difficulty many on the spectrum have with communicating and understanding emotions.
3. Many with Autism experience heightened sensitivity
If you ever met someone with Autism, you may notice that they are keen on touching or loud sounds. This is because many with Autism are highly sensitive to stimulation, and may refrain from hugging or touching because of this sensitivity. This further contributes to coming off as not keen on common social behaviors.
4. Autism is not one thing. It is a spectrum, and not every mental disability is Autism
There are many levels of Autism, and difficult people experience different symptoms of Autism or different intensities. As well, not everyone you see that has a mental disability, has Autism. There are many other mental disabilities other than Autism, and there and many other causes of mental disabilities, like brain injury.
5. Many researchers are considering labeling Autism as a personality type rather than a disability
I really like the idea of viewing Autism as a personality type, rather than a disability. I have met so many intelligent and talented children (and adults) with Autism that I have no doubt will live fulfilling and successful lives. Many of the current knowledge, or lack thereof, about Autism, lead parents to beleive that their child is limited. I believe those with may have more opportunity for success than us typical people might.