April is World Autism Month
Every April, Autism Speaks kicks off World Autism Month beginning with UN-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.
Joined by the international community, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world, light blue in recognition of people living with autism. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place all month to increase understanding and acceptance and foster worldwide support.
We have listed links for information to websites offering information, education and support to help answer your questions or provide you with resources. We hope that you find them useful.
This site offers information for families, friends, and advocates and of course, for people who are on the Autism Spectrum. The site offers links to advocacy events in your area, walks/runs and information about apps which provide various strategies to support people who are on the spectrum. https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-apps
This page offers a week by week plan to use for a child, recently diagnosed with Autism.
This site is sponsored by the CDC and offers much information about people who are on the Autism Spectrum. The site also offers links to other websites. Some of the links are regarding financial resources, benefits, assistive technology, transition tool kits, and self-advocacy, just to name a few.
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.