Every year, on April 2, the world marks the Autism Awareness Day. The tradition was established by the United Nations General Assembly back in 1989 and now countries all over the globe organize different events on this day to spread awareness for the disorder.
Dubai will also mark the day with various events. The Dubai Autism Centre, for example, will focus on its campaign called “Do not think it is misbehavior, it is autism.” Its goal is to promote acceptance toward people affected by the condition. The Early Childhood Development Centre, on the other hand, will organize a “My Community” campaign, which will spread awareness through various interesting activities.
About 67 million people in the world are affected by autism. That makes it even more common that diabetes, AIDS and cancer… combined! Moreover, autism is the fastest growing disability in the U.S. Despite that, autism awareness continues to be rather poor among people today. That is why we decided to introduce you to some of the most basic facts about the condition.
What is autism?
Autism is a very serious developmental disability, yet it is neither a mental, nor a learning disability. However, some patients may shows signs of the latter two. The condition is exhibited in different ways. This means that some patients might have certain difficulties, whereas others might not have them. That is why autism is referred to as a spectrum condition.
Unlike most disabilities, autism is hard to detect. It cannot be diagnosed through an X-ray, a scan or a blood test. That is why doctors rely only on screening and observations of the patient’s behavioral patterns.
The causes of autism continue to be rather unclear. There are different theories on the question. Some of the suggest that it has to do with certain genetic factors, whereas other point at physical factors, like premature birth or an infection during pregnancy. However, scientists agree that the cause for autism has nothing to do with upbringing and it is not self-inflicted.
Can it be cured?
Unfortunately, autism continues to be incurable. That is why it is a lifelong condition. Despite that, there aree various things that can help people with this disability and their families. For the bigger part, those include development and learning techniques.
It is hard to talk about symptoms of autism, since this is a condition that is difficult to classify and categorize. Therefore, scientists simply discuss effects of autism. According to them, patients with autism have three key areas of difficulty in common. They are also known as “the triad of impairments.”
The first of them involved difficulty with social communication. People who are affected by the disability find it hard to both use and understand non-verbal and verbal language (speech, facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, jokes and etc.). That is why, some of the patients might rely on a limited vocabulary or might not speak at all.
The second involves difficulty with social interaction. People with autism find it hard to understand and recognize other people’s feelings. Also, they might have troubles keeping their own feeling in control. As a result, many of them find it difficult to create friendships or to communicate with others. That is why some might even prefer to spend their time alone.
The last shared difficulty of people with autism has to do with social imagination. This means that find it challenging to imagine situations and scenarios which spread outside of their daily routine. Therefore, they feel comfortable doing repetitive activities, since they are less confusing to them.
Some patients might also have high sensory sensitivity which might or might not include more than one of their senses. However, others might experience lack of sensitivity.
Often people with this disability develop deep interest in some specific field. That could be music, art, technology and many others.
As you can see, autism can be a confusion condition for anyone who has not been affected by it in one way or another. Being informed on the basics is important for the early diagnosis of the condition, as well as for its acceptance.