April is Autism Acceptance Month
April is Autism Acceptance Month. Another name is Autism Awareness Month, or World Autism Month internationally. It seeks to provide a space to share stories and increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism. Over 75 million people worldwide have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In the United States, approximately 1 out of every 44 eight-year-olds children has an autism diagnosis.
What is Autism?
“Autism” is a short way to refer to a diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is no “test” for autism. There is no single known cause. It can affect people in very minor ways, or it may have a more significant impact on a person’s life. Diagnosis is made by a professional observing a person’s development and behaviors. Because of continued research, doctors have been able to diagnose people earlier than they used to. An early diagnosis means children can start to get interventions to help them learn skills that may come more naturally to other children. These interventions can include speech therapy, physical therapy, and cognitive therapy, among others.
Above is an interactive menu with selected library books to help children understand what autism is. There are also topic searches of books to check out from the library, and local, regional, online, and national services and resources to support families with an autism diagnosis.
Removing the Stigma
There is no one “sign” that shows someone is autistic. Even needing early childhood assistance is just that: a need. Many children without autism benefit from early intervention services. A person with ASD may have communication difficulties or find social interactions trickier.
It is possible for none of these signs to show in a person with autism. Instead an autistic person may find that they are very upset by changes to a routine. They may think they just don’t ‘understand’ other people, or they may miss social cues. But a diagnosis with autism does not mean that a person will have intellectual difficulties. It does not mean that they cannot live full and independent lives. Each person is unique, and their needs will vary. Of course, anyone with questions or concerns about their child’s development should contact a trusted healthcare provider for guidance.