It's Autism awareness day on April 2nd and Autism awareness month throughout April .Let's throw some light on Autism through the blogosphere.Autism is defined by the Autism Society Of America (ASA) as
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. .
Some of the diagnostic findings in kids with Autism or Autism spectrum Disorder:
- The hallmark feature of ASD is impaired social interaction and they tend to avoid eye contact with other people.
- They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they have diminished ability to understand the social cues , such as tone of voice or facial expressions.
- Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.Some of the higher functioning autism kids may be able to speak or respond as effectively as us .
- They may have some repetitive movements like flapping the hands ,tapping hands over the head ,rocking their body in rhythmic movements ,yelling or screaming aloud ,parrot like repetitive speech or repeating certain words.They may also have certain sensory issues related to sounds or vision.For example :They may be afraid of certain noises like a fire cracker's sound or a engine's sound /vacuum cleaner /mixer grinder's sound or may feel discomforted seeing certain visual scenes like a bright light or certain color.
- Most individuals with autism lack spontaneity, initiative, and creativity in the organization of their leisure time and have difficulty applying conceptualizations in decision-making in work (even when the tasks themselves are well within their capacity)
- They may not be able to relate to the past experiences or narrate what had happened earlier.For ex:relate it's past day's experience ,narrate the incidents occurred at school etc
- The specific manifestation of deficits characteristic of autism change as the children grow older, but the deficits in socialization, emotional expression ,overall development,continue into and through adult life with a broadly similar pattern ,but may not necessarily be the same as it was during the childhood.
These are just a general list of few of the characteristics and each child is unique in it's own way and cannot be limited to these diagnostic features listed by some researchers.Anyways ,my intention of listing these characteristics were just to create a sense of awareness in those of you who were not knowing what Autism really is about. Autism is not a mental illness or some sort of contagious disease that people need to stay away from.People need not forbid their kids from playing together with an autistic kid nor allow or encourage their kids to harass or ridicule them in any way.Let the parents try to explain their kids why the autistic kids behave differently ,rather than just themselves acting so immature and being stigmatic . Let them create an awareness in them about Autism in a simple way and explain the importance of showing respect to all the individuals.I notice that some parents consider it as a stigma or matter of prestige to mingle with the parents of children with special needs or also allow their kids to play with these kids .
These children may be lacking so many things a so called 'normal child' may possess ,but may also have certain self motivated skills or talents which may be exceptional.There are a number of autistic artists , small business men, musicians,singers .They may be slow in certain things ,they may not be able to become a professional engineer ,doctor or any other high- fi graduates.But given an opportunity ,they can flourish in their own way and at least reach up to a level where they can read and write and become responsible independent individuals..They love the air you breathe ,they love the food you eat ,they love the fun and frolic you have ,they love to sing and dance ,even though it's their own unique way.All they need is acceptance into our world ,respect ,love and extra care not our sympathy or ignorance.As responsible parents and citizens ,it's our duty to create a harmonious universe giving a chance for every single child to develop, nurture and blossom in their own way.