April for Autism
April is Autism Awareness Month. But what is autism exactly? Is it just one single diagnosis? Or is there more?
Many people have mistakenly attributed the symptoms with the fact that “autism is autism.” However, there is not just one single diagnosis. Autism is deeper and more complex than you think.
Take in example a bag of jelly beans. Obviously, each bean is different from the outside so it has to be the same for the inside. Red is cherry, yellow is lemon, green is watermelon, and so on. But red can also mean strawberry, or even pomegranate. The same goes for yellow; instead of lemon you might get pineapple or maybe banana and you might think watermelon when you bite into a green; but to your surprise, lime!
Autism is like jelly beans in that way; the symptoms may be similar, but once you get deeper, you might be surprised that each single individual with autism is different from another.
Autism is described as “a group of complex disorders of brain development.” And that’s the magic word; Disorders, with an “S”.
There is no single diagnosis when it comes to autism; therefore each disorder is placed on a large spanning scale known as the autism spectrum. The scale is very large and complex, so explaining every single disorder would probably turn this simple blog article into a full on novel. So with that, here are a few of the most discussed or most common disorders on the autism spectrum.
Asperger’s Syndrome: Usually located at the bottom, or high-cognitive, of the spectrum. Individuals with this disorder are usually highly intelligent and therefore educated through mainstream, though they might need special education in some cases. They mostly wish to have friends and fit in socially, but have difficulty making connections. They also may develop anxiety or depression as a result.
Kanner’s Syndrome: Also known as “classic autism” usually located around the middle of the scale. Symptoms usually start showing around age 3 and last through the individuals’ life. Individuals are characterized by decreased social interaction and communication issues. Repetitive behaviors like repeated head bobbing and hand waving are common.
PDD/NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not Otherwise Specified): An acronym used to describe any disability on the autism spectrum that does not match symptoms of autistic disorders specifically. These might include ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, depression, and anxiety disorders.