New Jersey has the highest prevalence of autism in the country, with a rate of 1 in 34 compared to the national average of 1 in 59.
April is known as National Autism Awareness month, which is a time when people across the U.S. promote autism awareness, autism acceptance, and draw attention to people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Though Autism Awareness Month is ending, please continue to educate yourself and others about autism. It is estimated that more than 3.5 million Americans live with autism. So the chances are high that you either know someone with autism or know someone who knows someone with autism.
What are the signs?
If you or a loved one may have autism be sure that you know the signs. The CDC has a comprehensive list of signs of autism on their website. Keep in mind that children don’t always show all of the signs, and some children may show some of the signs even if they don’t have autism. Some early signs for infants and toddlers include:
A child’s failure to respond to their name
Avoiding eye contact
Lack of joint attention (sharing an experience of observing an object or event)
Engaging in repetitive movements, such as rocking or arm flapping
Playing with toys in unusual ways
Early intervention is the key to lifelong success. Some children with autism seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then either stop gaining new skills, or lose skills they once had. Though a reliable diagnosis of autism can be obtained by age 2, most children are diagnosed after 4 years old. If you are concerned that your child or loved one may have autism, the first step is to see your doctor. You can also locate resources and service providers in your area.
In many cases, adolescents and adults may also receive a diagnosis of autism later in life. Some of the signs of autism in adolescents and adults include:
Difficulty understanding body language, gestures, and facial expressions
Difficulty making conversation
Difficulty making eye contact
Tendency to interpret information too literally
Obsession with rigid routines and sameness
What can you do?
Many of us encounter people with autism everyday. Whether you work with clients, customers, or coworkers with autism, remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. Think about how you would want someone to treat your child or sibling. If you are unsure what this means, here are a few tips for interacting with people with ASD:
Be patient- not everyone with autism will want to communicate on your schedule. Give them time, and do not rush the process.
Be brief- keep statements short to allow them time to process the information.
Be concrete- many people with autism have difficulty understanding abstract language. So instead of it “raining cats and dogs,” it is just “a lot of rain.”
Be compassionate- refer back to the Golden Rule, and let kindness prevail.
Be positive- be sure to encourage and reward positive behavior as much as you can.
Let’s continue to spread knowledge about autism, its signs, and support available for children and adults alike. Instead of focusing on the disability, let’s focus on the unique abilities that each person with autism possesses.
People with autism qualify for support that includes speech and language therapy. This may be covered by health insurance or a state-funded program. If you are interested in getting online speech therapy for you or your loved one, we are ready to help. Contact Online Speech Services today for a free consultation. #autismawarenessmonth #autismawarenss #onlinespeechtherapy #speechpathologist