The month of April is National Autism Awareness Month and Ohio Valley Goodwill is pleased to join in the community educational and awareness efforts. As an employment and training center which serves individuals with disabilities including Autism, Goodwill is dedicated to helping individuals to achieve personal and vocational success. Through its long-time partnerships with four County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, Goodwill serves more than 580 individuals annually through its programs and services and last year, assisted 907 to obtain jobs in the Greater Cincinnati community. In addition, the organization’s award-winning Center for Advocacy, Recreation and Education (CARE) program is an option for individuals who prefer to participate in a program designed to offer social, recreational and volunteering opportunities as well as community engagement as opposed to employment. Find out more about Goodwill’s employment and program services options at www.cincinnatigoodwill.org/services.
Historically, the first National Autism Awareness Month was declared by the Autism Society in April 1970. The aim of this month is educate the public about autism. Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years). Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause.
People with autism are classed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the terms autism and ASD are often used interchangeably. A wide spectrum disorder, people will autism have set of symptoms unique to themselves; no two people are the same.
Whilst no two people with autism will have the same set of symptoms, there are common characteristics found in those with this complex disability. Briefly, these characteristics include:
Social Skills � people with autism have problems interacting with others; autistic children do not have adequate playing and talking skills. Mild symptoms on one end of the spectrum may be displayed through clumsy behavior, being out of sync with those around them and inappropriate or offensive comments being made. At the other end of the spectrum an autistic person may not be interested in others.
Empathy � empathy is the ability to recognize and understand the feelings of another person. People with autism find it harder to show empathy to others although they can be taught to acknowledge the others feelings.
Physical Contact � in some cases, autistic people do not like physical contact such as hugs, tickling or physical play with others.
Sudden Changes To Their Environment � a sudden change in the surrounding environment may affect a person with autism. The could be a loud noise, a change in intensity of lighting or even a change in smell.
Speech � speech can be affected in people with autism. ‘Echolalia’ is a typical speech symptom in which the person repeats words and phrases that they hear. The speech tone of an autistic person may be monotonous. Where symptoms are more extreme the person may not speak.
The Puzzle Ribbon Is The Symbol For This Event
Changes To Behavior and Routine � people with autism often display repetitive behavior in which they repeat the same action many times over. For example, a person with autism may repeatedly pace around a room in a certain direction. Any change to their behavior or routine can be unsettling for them. This could be a reordering of daily activities such as when a person brushes their teeth, takes a shower and has breakfast when they get up in the morning.
Other characteristics of autism include an unpredictable learning rate, obsessions and physical tics.
In the United States, autism affects 1 in every 110 children. National Autism Awareness Month aims to make the public more aware about this widespread disability and the issues which arise in the autism community. As about 1 in 150 people in America have autism, the chances are that you know someone with this disability. A better informed public will be more empathetic and supportive towards people with autism.
In Cincinnati, Autism Speaks in hosting a Walk on May 18th at Coney Island to raise awareness about Autism. Find out more about Autism on their website Autism Speaks.org
Please note: Facts regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder taken from http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/nationalautismmonth.html