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Autism Awareness

When the word Autism comes up what do you think? ‘Oh just some children with mental issues’ or maybe you have never even heard about Autism. Four years ago my brother was born; and two years ago he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder. This article is mainly about supporting the Autism Awareness groups that my family has joined not even a month and a half ago. So please, sit back and enjoy this article…

The word “Autism” comes from the Greeks meaning “self”. The syndrome of Autism was first described in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner. Dr. Kanner had eleven young subjects that had unusual interests and behaviors. Dr. Kanner could not relate these children to people or situations in any ordinary way.

In one case he looked at a six-year-old boy named Fredrick; Fredrick’s mother said that Fredrick was not good playing with other children his own age and did not play with normal childhood toys. His mother also claimed that Fredrick was terrified of machines such as elevators and vacuum cleaners. Fredrick also rarely did well with change. He had also ignored people around him including his grandparents, and spoke little until around the age of two. After that he spoke in full sentences.

Autism is now recognized as a group of conditions with similar behavioral characteristics. These conditions may be referred to as Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). There are five main conditions that are formally grouped as ASC: Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), Rett Syndrome, and Pervasive Development Disorder.

The children with Autism may be grouped in three categories: Problems with language and communication, problems with social interactment, and unusual interests and/or behaviors. Some scientists believe that children with autism can’t put themselves in other people’s position. Meaning that Autistic children don’t understand that children in Africa are starving because he/she is fed well at home.

My brother, Luke, has Asperger’s Disorder. Like children with Autism, people with Asperger’s Disorder have unusual interests and preoccupations. Luke is fascinated with matchbox cars/hot wheels. He will play with them for hours at a time lining them up in “parking lots” wreck his line and do it over again. Also children with Asperger’s Disorder don’t understand how their behavior is viewed by others. For example, Luke sometimes hut-butts, hits, bites, and climbs on us and jumps, he doesn’t understand that those actions hurt us and that it’s not considered as funny. Unlike Autism, language problems are not a problem for most children with Asperger’s some even talk earlier than most children their age.

CDD, or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, is characterized by the same symptoms as Autism. However the children seem healthy until the ages of two or three. They would begin to lose many skills they have learned and stop talking. They would also have communication issues and social problems, as in Autism.

Rett Syndrome is usually uncommon in boys than in girls. The disorder was named after Dr. Andreas Rett who described a group of girls that developed normally at birth and childhood, and then lost all of their needed physical abilities such as movement in their hands and legs. The cause of Rett syndrome is a gene that didn’t form correctly in the chromosome.

The likely hood of Autism in boys than in girls is 2 out of 1000. Boys are four to five times more likely to get Autism than girls. This year 1 out of every 70 kids will be diagnosed with Autism, and 1 out of every 10000 girls will be diagnosed with Rett Syndrome.
There has not been a known cure for Autism, but scientists believe that Autism may run in the family. Special help is also provided for children at school. Now the fight is for you to choose… Most insurance and town education departments have no or very low policies for all special needs children, but especially Autistic children.

Just remember that even though they are different autistic children have very special talents whether art or math or writing some have very good memories and learn things quickly; some don’t. They are people just like you and me; they are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, neighbors, and friends. So next time you hear Autism what will you think.





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