Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 160 children has ASD worldwide. This means that globally, there are millions of individuals with autism.
Further, the estimated prevalence of ASD has increased by 10 percent annually over the past decade. There are notable differences in the prevalence rates of autism globally.
For example, studies show that the prevalence of autism in the United States is higher than in many other countries — 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with ASD. This is compared to the United Kingdom where the rate is 1 in 100 children.
Related media: Beyond Autism Awareness… To Acceptance And Appreciation! (World Autism Awareness Day)
What Is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. ASD is referred to as a “spectrum” because it encompasses a wide range of symptoms and the level of severity may differ from one individual to another.
The characteristics of autism may include repetitive behaviors, difficulties in social interaction, delayed or absent language skills, sensory issues, and sensory-seeking behaviors such as hand-flapping or spinning. The behaviors of individuals with autism may be different from one another.
How Do Autistic People Behave?
Autistic people may exhibit behaviors that are perceived as unusual or difficult to understand. A common characteristic of autism is difficulties in social interaction, which can manifest in several ways. Individuals with autism might not respond appropriately to social cues, making it hard for them to initiate or respond to conversations or form social relationships.
Some individuals with autism might have difficulty expressing themselves verbally or non-verbally. For example, some may not make eye contact when speaking with others, while others may struggle to express their emotions.
Individuals with autism may also exhibit repetitive behaviors and routines, which can be comforting and soothing for them. They might engage in activities such as pacing, hand-flapping, or spinning objects. Additionally, they might be prone to sensory issues, such as being overly sensitive to perception — albeit sights, sounds, touch, taste, or smells.
Causes And Symptoms
The exact causes of autism are not fully understood, but research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role.
Research studies suggest that some genes might increase the risk of developing autism, but it is not known whether this is the sole cause of autism. Additionally, there are environmental factors that are believed to contribute to autism development.
Here Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of autism vary widely from one individual to another. However, the following are some common signs:
#1. Delayed language development or absence of language altogether.
#2. Repetitive behaviors, such as hand-flapping, rocking back and forth, and spinning objects.
#3. Difficulties with social interaction may include avoiding eye contact, difficulty recognizing facial expressions, and difficulty interpreting social cues.
#4. Sensory sensitivities, including being over or under-sensitive to certain sounds or textures.
#5. Difficulty adapting to change and transitioning from one task to another.
Is There A Cure Or Treatment?
Nope! There is no cure for autism; early diagnosis and intervention, such as behavioral therapy or speech therapy, can significantly improve outcomes for individuals with ASD. Additionally, medication can help manage co-occurring conditions such as anxiety or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
World Autism Awareness Day
In conclusion, World Autism Awareness Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder, promoting acceptance of individuals with the disorder, and supporting research efforts to find a cure. Globally, millions of people are affected by autism, with rates of prevalence varying across different regions of the world.
While the causes of autism are not fully understood, early diagnosis and intervention can significantly improve outcomes for individuals with ASD. Individuals with autism should be treated with compassion and understanding, recognizing their strengths and potential, and creating environments that celebrate their diversity and support their needs.
Let us know if you/someone you know have/has autism.
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Written by: Dorothy Efua Dadzie, Mon, Mar 27, 2023.