World Autism Awareness Day
Today, April 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day.
According to Autism Speaks, “By way of comparison, more children are diagnosed with autism each year than with juvenile diabetes, AIDS or cancer, combined.” With the numbers telling us that 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed – 1 in 54 boys – it’s likely that you or someone you love will be affected by autism.
With a broad range of possible causes, including genetic and environmental factors entirely beyond our control, the most effective way to handle the potential that your child is on the spectrum is through early intervention. Autism Speaks shares:
The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:
No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
No words by 16 months
No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
Even if this isn’t an issue in your own home, one of the best things you can do for those affected is to learn more about the autism spectrum: how someone is diagnosed, what it means to live with autism, and the best ways to support those who do. To that end, here are some articles to assist you in getting started:
Image via United Nations [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons