According to various studies, autism is rising at an uncommon rate. The group Autism Speaks has called on the nation’s leaders to fund what they feel is a critically needed research.
For the 12th straight year, April has been recognized as Autism Awareness Month.
Reports indicate that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder marked by a distinct pattern of impairment in three major areas: reciprocal social interaction, communication skills and stereotyped behaviors, interests and activities.
“People with autism have a wide range of behaviors and abilities, and some need more support than others,” Special Education Teacher Elaina Wolfe Carper said.
Internet data shows that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a recent update, showing a 15 percent increase in prevalence nationally from 1 in 59 children to 1 in 68 the two years previous.
Carper explained that there are many things you can do to support people with autism.
- Explain what you are going to do or what will happen next. Everyone can have a tough time with sudden changes, but for people with autism, surprises can be even more frustrating.
- Give the person time to understand the things you say and time to respond. People with autism might have problems processing auditory information, so giving them just a little extra time to process what you’ve said can be extremely helpful.
- Use direct language and say what you mean. People with autism may take things very literally, so certain types of jokes and sarcasm can cause misunderstandings.
- Understand that many people with autism have a hard time with things like eye contact, sounds, textures, etc. If this is the case, remember that they are not being intentionally difficult, but have increased sensory sensitivity compared to other people.
April 2 is designated as Autism Awareness Day and many will wear the blue that day and throughout the month to support their motto, “Light It Up Blue.”
If you would like more information about autism or how to support a loved one with the condition, Carper invites you to contact a Special Education teacher at Craig County Public Schools.
“Love and accept them,” Carper said before adding, “People with autism are our family members and friends. They are important members of our community and have so much to offer.”