Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological difference that affects how a person processes the world around them. People on the autism spectrum may have similar characteristics such as difficulty in social situations and communicating with others, maintaining eye contact or understanding social cues. Depending on where an individual falls on the spectrum, some with ASD can experience developmental delays. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. It’s important to note: autism is not a disease.
People with autism can often be diagnosed around 2 years of age. Some identify as “autistic,” while others prefer to be called “a person with autism.” There is no known cause or “cure” for autism. A variety of therapies are available to help people on the spectrum master life skills and handle a world that can be overwhelming. According to the CDC, types of therapies include: behavior and communication approaches, dietary approaches and medication.
Many individuals on the spectrum experience sensory overload. This can happen when they pick up on too many senses around them, such as bright lights or loud noises. It can sometimes results in a meltdown, which is not the same as a temper tantrum. If your child has been diagnosed with ASD under the age of three, he or she may be eligible for Early Intervention Services.
If you’d like to become an autism advocate and help spread understanding about neurological differences, there are several nonprofits and organizations you can get involved with.