In the past ten years, autism has become one of the more well-known disorders in the country.
A recent study of 8-year-olds conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 1 in 88 has a form of autism. While scientists and doctors remain unsure of what causes the disorder, it is important for the average American to know the basics of the disorder.
So what exactly is autism? It is a disorder that impairs an individual’s social interaction and ability to communicate. Autistic individuals also fall into repetitive behavior and/or follow routines. These symptoms can vary from person to person. This leads to the popular saying, “If you’ve met once person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”
The disorder usually surfaces by age two or three and is more likely to affect boys. Some early indications of autism are as follows:
- Child not responding to his or her own name
- No eye contact
- No social responses
- Babbling, no actual sentences or words
Brian exhibitsall of the tell-tale signs of autism. He will only make eye contact with someone if the person is talking to him. His communication has increased dramatically from where he started, but it is not on par to a non-autistic person his age. Brian will often speak in short, concise sentences. For example if he wants to go to the bookstore, he’ll say, “Go to the bookstore with Mommy.”
In terms of social interaction, Brian is obviously connected to my parents and me, but a majority of his other friends have come from school where there is constant interaction.
Routines and repetitive behavior are something Brian exhibits everyday. From the time he wakes up, to the time he goes to bed, Brian adheres to a schedule. For him, that schedule gives him an idea of where his day is going and gives him peace of mind.
In a previous post , I wrote about Brian’s love for Disney. Throughout his day, Brian will recite Disney movies lines over and over again. I’m never sure why, but he seems to be more at ease whenever he does this.
*If you have the time, there is an episode from the MTV show “World of Jenks” about autism. Jenks visits Chad, a 20-year-old with autism. Chad shows the many signs of autism.
*The episode from “Scrubs” is from season four, episode 18