A Resource for Families
Watch this Blog to give you a feel for some issues involved in high functioning autism:
What is Autism?
Autism is a general term that encompasses many Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD's) and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD's). Autism is a complex developmental brain disorder that effects everything from speech to personality. There are different levels of severity, ranging from very high functioning (or very close to if not surpassing "normal" functioning and intelligence levels) to very low (or very well below the normal level of functioning and intelligence). Symptoms generally persist throughout life. A person with a mild case may function very well on their own and may just seem quirky, however, a person with a severe case may need to be cared for all their life. Early diagnosis and intervention can make a world of difference.
Autism effects the way a person sees the world and usually tends to make social interaction and communication difficult. Sometimes repetitive behaviors are exhibited. More often than not, however, children with Autism tend to vary as much from individual to individual as one could imagine. The Autism Speaks website offers this expression "If you know one person with autism, then you know one person with autism."
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists the criteria needed for an Autism diagnosis.
Autism is a very difficult diagnosis. Yet it is important to know there is hope. God is indeed in control, and with him families can work through this identification of this disorder and work to help their children to be able to handle autism, and figure out God's plan for their life and how to manage it. Without accepting the condition, families and children are often running from situation and circumstance hoping to avoid the reality of the situation. Being able to understand, work with and manage circumstances and their children as best as they can often helps them to feel more in control, and able to accept the situation, and find ways to work with it in their child's life.
What is the cause of Autism?
No one knows for sure a specific cause for Autism, and there are most likely multiple causes. Most of todays research points toward a biological cause, meaning that it is most likely linked to the immune system, in utero development, and genetic factors. Under speculation are environmental factors, such as food additives, chemical exposure, and the timing of exposure to these factors.
How common is Autism?
1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with Autism (CDC) and this figure has been increasing. This makes Autism more common than childhood cancers, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS put together. Boys are diagnosed much more frequently than girls.
How Can I find out More? The Center is building both in school and out of school resources. See this link for information about support groups but also for more generalised characteristics of families and children dealing with autism: Click to find out more.