If you have ever watched the TV series The Big Bang Theory or the film Forrest Gump you’ve experienced a small glimpse into what living with Asperger’s or Autism can be like. Living on the spectrum can cause feelings of isolation, confusion, and misunderstanding similar to the disorder itself.
Previously, Asperger’s syndrome and autistic disorder were considered two different conditions. The two have since been combined in new category specialists are calling(1).
Autism Spectrum Disorder is defined (2) as, “any of a group of developmental disorders (such as autism and Asperger's syndrome), present from early childhood, marked by impairments in the ability to communicate and interact socially, forming relationships with other people, and by the presence of repetitive behaviors or restricted interests.”
When using the new categorization, reported (3) a skyrocket in the condition’s prevalence, determining that 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network also estimates that ASD is 4 times more common among boys than girls, and it is reported in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic demographics.
To guarantee developmental success, it is important for parents and caregivers to learn the early signs (4) of ASD.
However, each case’s timing and severity varies greatly. Some children show signs within their first few months, while others may not show until the ages of 3 or 4. If a child shows any of the following symptoms, it is recommended that they see a pediatrician.
Infants: (6 months - 18 months)
Toddlers: (2 - 4 years)
With the recent merging of Asperger’s and Autism onto a spectrum, this means that a person can be mildly, moderately, or severely autistic. To help clinicians and others classify individual ASD cases, three levels of support (5) have been created.
Level 1: Requires Support Difficulty initiating social interactions Organization and planning difficulties can hinder independence.
Level 2: Requires Substantial Support Social interactions limited to narrow topics and special interests Frequent repetitive/restricted behaviors.
Level 3: Requires Very Substantial Support Severe deficits in verbal and non verbal Organization and planning difficulties can hinder independence
While the creation of levels is important when helping to identify, the classification can be subjective.
As ASD awareness increases, more charities are being founded to help with research and additional resources:
Autism Speaks is responsible for the international events “Light It Up Blue” and the Autism Speaks Walk program. This walk is the largest fundraiser event for autism awareness, which has raised over $300 million towards advocacy, research, and services for those with the condition.
Early intervention (6) is valuable in helping those on the spectrum. Therefore, raising attention and awareness to the signs plays a big part in early detection. Early treatment and therapy can help many areas of a child’s life including their communication, behavior and social skills, and academic success.
In the next ten years, over 500,000 (7) teens on the spectrum will enter adulthood and age out of school-based ASD services. For many of these individuals, they stop receiving care after this point, which hinders jobs and independence.
Therefore, the need for increased awareness for those who are affected at all ages is crucial to the continued research and treatments provided.
April is designated as National Autism Awareness Month, with Tuesday, while April 2 is National Autism Awareness Day. During this time, many of the aforementioned organizations and charities host events and promote social media campaigns to bring attention to the disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder awareness is represented by the color blue and the multicolored puzzle pieces. The puzzle ribbon was created by the Autism Society; however other non-profits are allowed to use the logo to help bring awareness to the disorder.
The Autism (ASD) Awareness Ribbon has a noticeable pattern that represents the complexity of the autism spectrum. Each color and shape reflects the diversity of the individuals and families that deal with the disorder.
Demonstrating support for those on the spectrum is easy. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and wristbands are all excellent ways to show others that autism spectrum disorder is something of importance and deserves to be given attention.
Wristbands and bracelets are fully customizable, with options for the multicolored puzzle or the recognizable blue. Everyone knows what the autism awareness symbol is, regardless of their knowledge of the disorder, so wearing a wristband can help begin a conversation and help spread the word.
The autistic world is a puzzle to us, and our world is puzzling to those on the spectrum. Through increased awareness, visible signs of support, and continued advocacy, enough acceptance and understanding the two puzzling worlds can come together to fit perfectly.
For more information on Rapid Wristbands and to show your support for autism spectrum disorder, order today!