Learn About Autism Awareness Month This April
This April, KenCrest celebrates Autism Awareness Month with an inside look into spectrum disorders and how we can help.
By Sydney Kerelo
Autism awareness takes center stage this April, with World Autism Day kicking off on April 2. Every day, thousands of people across the globe are diagnosed with some form of autism, whether it be highly severe or barely noticeable at all. But, while autism is becoming more common, many still wonder, what is it?
According to Autism.org, “autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder with symptoms that appear within the first three years of life… Some individuals develop distinctive speech and language capabilities—and exceptional skills—but struggle with lifelong social and behavioral differences. Others may have challenges in communication, sensory sensitivities, and behavioral issues, such as excessive tantrums, repetitive behaviors, aggression, and self-harm.”
Autism can develop as early as 18 months and may go undiagnosed well into adulthood. Plus, they found that about 1 in 44 children are identified with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) every year, and boys are four times more common to develop it than girls.
Although it may be to have a diagnosis, many peoples’ can live a meaningful and full life.
What are the symptoms of Autism?
While autism is a comprehensive diagnosis with many different ranges in severity, a few common symptoms are associated with it. According to Autism.org, parents and caregivers should look for communication, social and behavioral symptoms such as pragmatic language, a lack of eye contact, nonverbal communication, tone of voice, and repetitive, ritualistic behaviors. Watch for self-injurious behavior such as head banging, biting the hands, excessive rubbing, or scratching the skin.
How to Screen for Autism Spectrum Disorder
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is typically diagnosed through milestone monitoring, evaluations, and screenings. Parents can assist in a diagnosis through developmental tracking. Ask your pediatrician for a milestone checklist to see if your child is reaching the levels they should be when it comes to playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving.
If your child needs further assessments, they would undergo a developmental screening. This includes a brief test or questionnaire about their language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions. If an area of concern arises, the next step would be a formal developmental evaluation. This evaluation is done by a trained specialist. They may observe the child to determine if special care is needed.
How KenCrest Can Help
Many programs and supports help people with autism live meaningful lives. KenCrest’s Birth-to-5 Early Intervention program allows the children we support to thrive with early intervention services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special instruction, nutrition, hearing, vision, behavioral support, and psychological benefits.
Our team at KenCrest is dedicated to helping the people we support and the family as a whole. Our practices include collaborating with parents, caregivers, family members, and childcare teachers to identify concerns and develop an individualized support plan (or ISP). Remember to check out our birth-to-5 webpage to learn which services are eligible in your state.
An autism diagnosis is problematic initially, but it doesn’t have to be scary. With proper care, treatment, and support, those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder live an extraordinary life as independently as possible.