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Let's Talk Babies!

Today is World Autism Awareness Day.  In 2007 the United Nations adopted a resolution creating World Autism Awareness Day as a way to bring the world’s attention to the disease.  The participating countries are encouraged to take steps to heighten the awareness of autism, and to encourage measures to help with early diagnosis and early intervention.

I thought today would be a fitting day to share a few facts about autism with you.

What is autism? : Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain impacting the development of social interaction and communications skills.  Children and adults with autism will typically display difficulties with communication, both verbal and non-verbal, social interactions, and leisure/play activities.  Autism is a spectrum disorder so it affects people in varying ways from mild to severe.

Common Characteristics of Autism:

  • Difficulty with language development.
  • Difficulty initiating or maintaining a conversation.
  • Some autistic children and adults may exhibit aggressive or self-injurious behavior.
  • Difficulty expressing needs.
  • Resistance to change.
  • Preference to being alone.
  • Difficulty mixing and interacting with others.
  • Make little or no eye contact.
  • Obsessive attachment to objects.
  • Non-responsive to verbal cues.

Early Intervention and why it is important: Early intervention is any therapy or measure taken between the ages of birth and three years of age (previously the normal age of diagnosis).  By diagnosing autism earlier parents, educators, and doctors can begin therapy during the time when the child’s brain is most receptive.  Early intervention has been shown to have a very great impact on reducing the symptoms of autism often reducing the need for intensive support when the child enters school.

What causes autism? :  There is no known cause for autism.  Researchers are investigating possible causes including heredity, genetics, environmental factors and medical problems.  More research is needed and the more awareness there is of autism the more push there will be for broader, stronger, more effective research.

For more information on autism and World Autism Awareness Day visit these helpful websites.

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