April is National Autism Awareness month, So, I am campaigning by raising a platform of awareness to find a cure and ease our knowledge, alertness, mindfulness, recognition and sensibility on the most avoided topic within us – Our perception on Autism.
What is Autism? It is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.
In March 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 88 births in the United States and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shown on autism as a result of the prevalence increase opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.
So, you noticed a child has Lack of or delay in spoken language, Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects), Little or no eye contact, Lack of interest in peer relationships, Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play or Persistent fixation on parts of objects..
Chances are you know an autistic child or have encountered one somewhere. It’s not easy knowing what to do or how to respond to the quirks (or outbursts) of an autistic child. Public tantrums are par for the course with children. How many of us have seen a kid have an outburst while their embarrassed parents try to get control? Well, ratchet that up a couple of notches for autistic kids. Their tantrums can get rough. Don’t …gape and stare at the child and parent, saying “Can you believe that kid?” faces. And especially don’t make comments or tell the parent, “Can’t you control your kid?” Just go about your business. Or if you catch the eye of the child’s caregiver, just flash a smile. It can work wonders.
You haven’t met anyone so unique and exceptional until you encounter a special need child. Their love is pure, genuine and transparent. You see through their little eyes rays of hope and unquestionable bewilderment.
So, instead of starring at the “un-believable sight or scene, why not give emotional support. Be that imaginary horse to be ridden on or be their knight in shinning armor who sings of their praises, it helps build their confidence. Reach out this month – to a special need child.
(Dedicated to all my 75 Autistic children – well, “my caseload children” from over 10 years! – ‘Lighting it BLUE for you this month!)
#Love you all for real!