April is Autism Awareness Month and before it ends, there are ways you can help. First, let me explain what autism is in layman's terms.
Autism is a developmental disorder with a different spectrum or functional level. These levels can range from low to severe, or high but with cognitive delay.
People with autism may exhibit repetitive or aggressive behaviors and some are nonverbal. Repetitive behaviors consists of:
- Rocking back and forth
- Jerking movements
- Waving or flickering of fingers
- Echolalia (meaningless repetition of speech)
Aggressive behaviors consists of:
- Head butting
- Self-injury (hitting themselves in the head)
- Injury to others (abrupt lashing out due to frustration)
There is also hyperactivity or the inability to sit still. This behavior is really stressful for parents and caregivers to deal with.
All in all, some people with autism have a chance of living productive lives in the community with coaching.
Autism has become more common than ever. The first time I encountered autism was from watching the movie Rain Man (1988), starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. There was not much information about autism and those who had it was pretty much hidden from society.
There is no cure for autism but there are medications and different techniques of care that could be used, based on the individual.
This is why it's so important that programs that benefit people with autism are well funded. These programs provide resources such as respite care for families or caregivers, as well as recreation and education.
The state of Illinois has experienced a budget crisis for a long time, with the threat of eliminating financial support of these programs.
Today, please donate to an autism organization of your choice. If you don't have one, here is a list of a few you could help:
- Autism Speaks https://www.autismspeaks.org
- Easter Seals www.easterseals.com
- Keen (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) www.keenusa.org
- The Answer Inc theanswerinc.org
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Filed under: Health and Wellness