Saturday, April 14, 2012

Concerned Bloggers: Autism

In a recent CDC press release, it is believed that every 1 in 88 children are autistic.  More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined..
But what exactly is Autism?

According to the National Institute of Health, Autism is often known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)
What is autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication.  Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood.
What is an autism spectrum disorder?
Different people with autism can have very different symptoms.  Health care providers think of autism as a “spectrum” disorder, a group of disorders with similar features.  One person may have mild symptoms, while another may have serious symptoms.  But they both have an autism spectrum disorder. Currently, the autism spectrum disorder category includes:
  • Autistic disorder (also called “classic” autism)
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or atypical autism)
Some possible red flags that a parent or guardian may look for are:

● The child does not respond to his/her name.
● The child cannot explain what he/she wants.
● The child’s language skills are slow to develop or speech is delayed.
● The child doesn’t follow directions.
● At times, the child seems to be deaf.
● The child seems to hear sometimes, but not other times.
● The child doesn’t point or wave “bye-bye.”
● The child used to say a few words or babble, but now he/she doesn’t.
● The child throws intense or violent tantrums.
● The child has odd movement patterns.
● The child is overly active, uncooperative, or resistant.
● The child doesn’t know how to play with toys.
● The child doesn’t smile when smiled at.
● The child has poor eye contact.
● The child gets “stuck” doing the same things over and over and can’t move on to other things.
● The child seems to prefer to play alone.
● The child gets things for him/herself only.
● The child is very independent for his/her age.
● The child does things “early” compared to other children.
● The child seems to be in his/her “own world.”
● The child seems to tune people out.
● The child is not interested in other children.
● The child walks on his/her toes.
● The child shows unusual attachments to toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string or having to put socks on before pants).
● Child spends a lot of time lining things up or putting things in a certain order.

The National Health Institute provides a helpful Autism Overview on their website.  But the reality is..if you feel that your child exhibits any of the red flags indicated above, you should seek professional medical advice.  Isn't that my number one answer to everyone?  Internet diagnosing is fun - but seeing your doctor is the smartest thing you can do for yourself and your child.
In Second Life, you can even find information and support at the Autism Awareness Center,

1 in 88 children is a lot.  And with the cause unknown...and no medical detection or cure for makes it a scary time to be a parent. 

Be aware, be prepared.

This Public Service Announcement was brought to you by the Concerned Bloggers Association.
If you would like to become involved, please contact Marleen Vaughan for more information.



Yordie Sands said...

Good job, Blissie.

Anabelle said...

Looks familiar

Marls said...

This looks fantastic. I love that you spelled out all the red flags a parent should notice. That's so important.

DeNovo Broome said...

I really should mention that these should be taken as indicators, and the very first thing that should be said is "DON'T PANIC."

First, a few or even a lot of these traits may not mean anything.

Second, even if they do, persons on the autistic spectrum DO develop differently, but they do develop.

It is by no means a tragedy or a death sentence for the VAST majority of people that could be given this label.

Just look at the numbers. Now think for a moment. It's almost certainly partially genetic. There may be additional environmental factors - and of course, now we are paying attention, so it all seems very big and overwhelming.

But people with these traits have been around for ages.

If you are interested in learning more about autism and Autistic Spectrum people from their own point of view, you can search in world for "The Autistic Liberation Front" or you can check out the Autism Hub.