People tend to be afraid of the things they don’t understand, which is why so many people are uncomfortable with behavioral disorders like autism.
When it comes to autism, there is nothing to fear.
One of every eight-eight American children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, but no two children with autism have the exact same symptoms or experiences. Autism is generally classified as a group of disorders called Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASDs. They are considered developmental disabilities, and impair the ability of the kids who have one to grow and develop.
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ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Autistic disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, or PDD-NOS, also known as atypical autism. Researchers who study these conditions say kids with an ASD are affected in three main ways, the most central of which is usually considered social development and interaction. The other two are difficulty with spoken language and an inclination to focus on certain interests, thoughts and behaviors.
Researchers also say that the causes of autism are numerous, but also remain a mystery. It is not known exactly when autism appears – whether children are born with it or if it develops later. But by definition its main symptoms are present by the age of three.
It is probably a fear of the unknown that causes many people to be uncomfortable around those with autism. But their fears are unfounded. Predatory aggression is rare in the autistic population, according to the President of the Ending Aggression and Self-Injury foundation; the primary impairments are socialization and communication.
Raven Zaal is a professional holistic health coach and the mother of an autistic child. She calls herself a warrior mom for children with autism.