Autism - Do you recognize the Signs? A quiet, withdrawn little girl sitting in a pool of silence, surrounded by laughing, screaming kids at a birthday party…a little boy throwing a tantrum at a supermarket because someone brushed past him down the aisle…a hyper 13-year old running wildly around a classroom at school repeating the same sentence over and over again – what do these children have in common with each other? What makes them different from their peers? All these children have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It is unfortunate that most people are completely unaware of what Autism is. They neither recognize nor understand the condition and find it easy to label a child with ASD as being ‘crazy’ or ‘retarded’. This complete lack of awareness leads to a great deal of discrimination against those who are Autistic. This discrimination, in turn, results in marginalization and isolation of those suffering with ASD, and creates traumatic situations for their families who want to shield them from the cruelty of society at large – although not very successfully.
It doesn’t really take much to rectify this situation. A little awareness and a little understanding can do wonders to reduce the levels of discrimination against children with ASD. More people having access to information on various types of autism and the signs of autism, would help foster greater understanding of the condition.
The resources available (Childswork Childsplay) offer a multitude of options in child therapy resources, including therapeutic tools for therapists, counselors and parents of children with Autism. Products that help increase awareness and understanding include games and books on Autism. If properly utilized, these resources can bring about a sea change in the way people perceive children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And the first step in this process is to recognize the signs.
But does Autism have signs that can be easily perceived by the uninitiated? What does one look for? Autism isn’t something that can be easily recognized at a distance, or even after an initial interaction with an Autistic person. Then again, the severity of the condition also influences a person’s ability to identify a child with ASD.
To the untrained eye, a child with Autism may well seem a bit ‘strange’. For instance, a child looking blankly into space and not making eye contact can be perceived as being ‘odd’, while a hyper child throwing a tantrum because someone’s made body contact can come across as being a spoilt brat. But there are reasons for these children’s behavior – they are Autistic.Children with Autism have problems in communicating and expressing themselves. They often don’t like being touched and are averse to making eye contact. They usually don’t respond to their names being called either. However, no two children with Autism are similar. They react and respond differently to similar situations. The one thing they all generally have in common is that they don’t know what Autism is, or that they even are Autistic. But given the right therapies, guidance and lots of understanding, a child with Autism is capable of integrating into mainstream society.
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