What is autism?
Autism disorder or autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disease that is characterized by challenges with the social community and by restricted and repetitive behavior. It is also a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.
Last year the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism disorder. Did you also know that boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls? Autism spectrum disorder affects anyone regardless of their gender, ethnicity, and social-economic group.
World awareness autism month aims at encouraging people to take measures to raise awareness about people with autism disorder throughout the world. Basically throughout the month, the focus is on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support. This year the mission is to create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.
The theme for this year is ‘Inclusion in Workplace’, inclusive education is the key to the transformative promise of the Sustainable Development Goals, to leave no one behind. This theme will feature a controlled roundtable discussion with individuals on the autism spectrum who have personally undergone the difficulties and witnessed these new probabilities in their workplace.
There are different characteristics of autism, reason because everyone is different. Though there are some common characteristics that you will find in each one of them, these are;
- Difficulty with communication. They tend to find it difficult to express themselves, especially with words.
- Very poorly developed social skills. They show difficulties in relating to people and usually prefer to be alone.
- Unusual behaviors or stereotypical body movements.
The other characteristics may include;
- Sensitive to light, sound, or touch.
- Getting aggressive or disruptive.
- Specific food patterns or preferences.
- Self-harming activities.
- Displaying special interest or talent in one area
Most of these characteristics can easily be noticed but for others, you need to have a keen eye in order for you to notice them.
Autistic people may want to always be alone and excluded but they also want to be loved and shown respect. Some of the ways we can help them or rather be included with them in their world is by;
- Normally, they are socially disconnected thus invite them to activities or games that will help in encouraging their social skills. Because sometimes they want to join in but they lack the form of speech or rather the courage to ask, therefore inviting them eases off that load for them.
- Educate other people about autism so that they get the same treatment as others. In that way, they will be comfortable when they are engaging with other people who are different from them.
- When you invite them to join the social activities also remember to encourage them to be socially interactive so that they can willingly do it by themselves and can learn more from the outside world.
- For those in workplaces, the employee should create an environment that accommodates their needs. These places could be like quiet spaces or allow them to have breaks whenever they feel too much pressure or are overwhelmed.
- For school environments, teachers should be patient with them during tests or when they do not understand a concept. He or she should find an easy way to explain to the student or use an example that they can relate to.
Those are just but a few, but as humans, we should be able to find ways to accommodate the people having challenges and adapt to how they are to create a better environment for both parties.
Always remember that one simple act can create a huge difference.
Here’s another great read from our Joy in Aging Blog on developing healthy eating and physical habit for you.