April 17, 2017

autism

National Autism Awareness Month, started by the Autism Society in 1984, dedicates the month of April to help raise support and awareness for individuals with the diagnosis. This year, the Autism Society is taking this campaign a step further by also focusing on acceptance and appreciation.

Read on to test your knowledge on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as we shatter common myths surrounding this developmental disability.

Myth: Autism affects everyone the same.

Fact: Individuals diagnosed with ASD experience different levels of challenges and abilities in three areas; social, behavior, and communication. Symptoms range in severity based on where they are on the spectrum.  An individual with ASD on one end of the spectrum may need to rely on others for all aspects of care, while another individual may be on the high-functioning end of the spectrum; displaying only mild symptoms that minimally affect day to day living.

The following is a list of some of the common characteristics of ASD:

  • Repetitive words or sounds
  • Difficulty developing relationships with their peers
  • Language delays
  • Self-harm or aggressive behavior towards others
  • Difficulty with self-care tasks such as toilet training or dressing oneself
  • Stress or agitation with changes in daily routines
  • Difficulty paying attention

Myth: A person with ASD is unable to understand or communicate.

Fact: People with ASD process information differently in their brain; however, this does not mean they do not understand or cannot communicate. For example, a person with ASD may be non-verbal but of extreme intelligence. Communication may be in a different form such as signing or use of gestures or sounds; be patient when speaking to someone with ASD as a response may take longer. Do not raise your voice or keep repeating your question as this will only lead to frustration for both.

Myth: A person with ASD cannot hold a job.

Fact: With the help of supportive treatment such as physical and occupational therapy, people with ASD have been able to work and become an integral part of the community.

Myth: Therapies and supportive services are only available while my child is young.

Fact: Once a child has aged out of early intervention services, they can still receive therapy and attend school. Schools now have classrooms that adapt to the developmental needs. Different services remain available in the home, school, and community setting. Therapy should be ongoing to help provide support, promote independence, and assist the families.

Do you or someone you know need services at home? Epic Health Services has trained experienced caregivers with knowledge of caring for patients with ASD. We offer skilled nursing, home health aides, and therapy services. For more information, visit our website.

For a list of resources in your state, click here. You can also visit the Autism Society page to find a local chapter near you.

Are you wondering how you can help? Show your support by wearing or displaying the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon and remember to #lightitupblue!