April Isn’t Just Earth Month…

…it’s also Autism Awareness Month. I personally have seen plenty of public awareness ads about autism, even read a few chapters about it in one of my psychology courses in college, but when it came down to writing this, I had to do a whole lot of research about what exactly autism is. Unfortunately, that sense of confusion about the condition is not uncommon in modern medicine, either.

While I don’t know anyone affected by autism, the prevalence of the disorder is increasing with each passing year, so it’s unlikely that that will remain the case for long. According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC) in 2007, autism affected 1 in every 150 births. That seems like an awfully high and worrisome number to me, especially considering that the cause of the disorder is thus far unclear.

From what I understand (and it really isn’t much aside from a general idea), autism doesn’t affect just one group or another based on any one characteristic. It does, however, affect boys more often than it does girls, and there seem to be some genetic connections.

As far as the symptoms, autism is a spectrum disorder, so the extent to which the social and communication skills are affected is dependent on the severity of the disorder. Just as each person with autism is unique, so is their experience with the disease.

Honestly, I feel overwhelmed and little lost about what autism is, how it develops, and how I can help this month and in the future, but I’ve found a few really great resources, one of which is Helping Families With Autism. I’ll be writing a little more about the subject, and I hope you all will enjoy them and learn along with me! If anyone has any information or helpful links, I’d be grateful for those, too!

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