Autism Awareness Month
By Brandi Suro, Oak Orchard Health
April is the month to recognize and raise awareness for Autism. April 2nd is the official day to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a lifelong developmental disability that affects language, communication, social, emotional, cognitive, and motor development. ASD affects 1 in 36 children, 4 times more likely to affect boys than girls. About 40% of children with autism do not speak or might not begin to speak until later in childhood.
Diagnosing ASD can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorder. A doctor looks at a child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis. ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months of age or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until they are much older. Some are not diagnosed until they are adolescents or adults which will delay those with ASD from getting early help they need.
Treatments for ASD seek to reduce symptoms that interfere with daily functioning and quality of life. ASD affects each person differently, meaning that people with ASD have unique strengths and challenges and different treatment needs. Treatment plans usually involve multiple professionals and are created for the individual.
The goal of autism awareness month is to raise awareness and understanding of autism and support individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Raising awareness is having a conversation, and asking questions to someone who has a family member or child with autism.
As always, you should consult with your medical provider if you have questions.