This short video is concise and to the point, giving a good overview of Autism.
Autism is a very difficult disability to understand. Usually, there are no outward signs pointing to an individual having the syndrome. Autism is also not a “one size fits all” syndrome, it is a spectrum of disorders that have to do with developmental, social and behavioral issues. An organization has put together some very useful tools to help others understand what you and you autistic loved one are going through.
In an effort to ease the fears of and provide encouragement to all people with individuals with autism in their lives, Autism Speaks has created four support tool kits, each designed specifically for the following groups:
The purpose of each kit is to help teach family members and friends more about autism and its effects on families, and provide resources and support to enable them to lead happy and successful lives with their loved ones with autism.
This is just a starting point in helping others to understand the Autism Spectrum Disorder, I encourage you to use these resources and grow in your understanding of the disability.
Autism and popular culture have had a complicated relationship for a long time. In 1988 the film Rain Man introduced the disorder to the general public. After its release diagnoses in the United States skyrocketed, and so did the presence of autistic characters in pop culture. In the 1980’s there were only two films starring autistic characters. In the next decade there were thirteen. The older the movie or book or show, the less autistic the characters often seem, some of them carry the label ‘autistic’ but with very few symptoms. Instead, the characters are inflicted with some generic mental disability, which when labeled as autism sells more tickets.
Rain Man, however, was nuanced. I’ve always appreciated the story, not just on a personal level, but also as a writer. It told a story set in a time when the common way to deal with a diagnosis was to send it away, to a mental institution. The filmmakers show the institution as a welcoming, safe, comfortable place for the character Ray, but in reality, these places were often run terribly, and kept up worse. A real life Ray would have found his handicap intensified by such a place. Many autistic children born in this era grew up to have severe mental deficiencies because so little of their nature was understood. Dustin Hoffman showed immense respect in his performance, painting a multifaceted character that felt human, but because of his place on the spectrum he is often a nuisance to the story, or worse, a vehicle solely there to move the plot forward. I don’t mean to bash Rain Man, which I consider a great first step, but it’s just that; the first step.
There is more to Autism than the savant and this should be seen more in popular culture.
#Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. It is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, and occurs in about one out of every 68 births. Autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries.
Take some time this month to learn more about Autism and what you can do to help someone you know affected by it.
Learn More About Autism
Kids Health: a website that explains autism in simple language for kids.
Growing Up Together: a printable 4 page brochure, explains autism and how to be friends with someone with autism, from Autism Society
Growing Up Together: Teens with Autism: a printable brochure for Teens, from Autism Society
First 100 Days Kit: a printable tool kit to aid families in getting the critical information they needed in the first 100 days after an autism diagnosis from Autism Speaks.
Printable Crafts, Bookmarks, Coloring Pages, and Activities for Children
Autism Awareness Bookmarks and Pencil Toppers
“I Love Someone with Autism” Paper Dog
“I Love Someone With Autism” Paper Car
Autism Awareness Symbol Coloring Page
Autism Awareness Word Search
Autism Awareness Crossword Puzzle
Puzzle Piece Butterfly
The Early Start Denver Model is a nonmedical treatment for children age 12 to 48 months who show symptoms of the developmental disorder. While autism is usually diagnosed in children between the ages of 2 and 3, a growing body of research suggests that diagnosing it early and intervening with one-on-one, parent-led treatment can reduce symptoms in the long run.
This seems to be a very promising development. Will be interesting to see what further research will hold.
One of the most consistent findings in autism, and perhaps the most perplexing, is that it affects about four boys for every girl.
In the new study, researchers analyzed two large genetic databases of girls with and without autism and found no evidence for such a DNA hotspot.
Researchers used a scanning method called diffusion tensor imaging to compare the corpus callosum in 112 boys and 27 girls with autism, and 53 boys and 29 girls without the disorder, all aged 3 to 5 years.
Compared with the controls, boys and girls with autism show different patterns of fibers projecting to the brain’s frontal lobe.
The researchers saw no difference here between girls with and without autism.
In girls with autism a smaller section of the fiber bundle connects to an adjacent region, the anterior frontal cortex, than in typically developing girls.
It’s unclear how these differences might affect the workings of the brain, but the researchers speculate that they could contribute to the apparent resistance of girls to autism.
Read full article @ SFARI