Autism is classified as a developmental disorder that refers to a broad range of symptoms that affect people with the disorders differently. Each person diagnosed with has their own unique experiences, with certain tasks might harder because of Autism, it affects many people in a variety of different ways. Autism is also often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder. “Spectrum” is often used in association of autism because autism cannot be classified in one way.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly one in 69 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Most of the time, Autism is diagnosed in people when they are young, often before they turn three. Some common symptoms used to diagnose young children who may have autism are lack of typical social responses or communication, for example the lack of back and forth communication, not responding to their name, delayed speech development, and excessive rigidity or stereotyped behavior, like lining up of toys, rocking, flapping, among other symptoms.
Being aware of autism, its symptoms and how it affect people is important. There is a lot of mis information that goes around about autism, leading many people to have incorrect notions about Autism.
“It is important for people to be aware of autism because at some point in their life they will have an encounter with someone. It can be through friends, family, workplace or out in the community. And if they are aware, they can also help other people who aren't,” Racquel Simpson, Warren Central Life Skills teacher said.
For some people, Autism affects them in smaller, more subtle ways that are unnoticeable to most people, while other people’s Autism affects them in more noticeable ways. It is important to not infantilize people with Autism, as they are people and should be treated as such. In fact, over 50% of people with Autism have average or above average intelligence. It is necessary to remember that people with Autism are people with emotions and thoughts, and should not be treated as if they lack these qualities.
People with Autism need to be listened to, as they have thoughts and feelings that are as valid as anyone's. Do not discredit someone's feelings or ideas just because they have autism, it is demeaning and shows a lack of caring or acceptance.
“Treat them as you would any other friend, they just want to feel included just like anyone else. They have the same emotional needs and wants. Empower them and advocate for them, while being sensitive to some of their needs. Be there for them, just like any other friend and include them in everything you would do with your other friends,” Samantha Schwarzin, Warren Central Life Skills Teacher said.
Sometimes it may be hard to understand Autism and how it affects people. Sometimes it's hard to know how to deal with people's symptom, and how to help peers who may have autism themselves. Luckily there are many resource online and in real life that aim to help people understand Autism Spectrum Disorder and destroy stigma against the disorder and help promote acceptance.