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Maybe It’s Time You Understand And Embrace Autism

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What Is Autism?
Possible Causes
Signs
Challenges They Face
Embrace Autistic Children
Embrace Autistic Friends
Helpful Products
Get Help

What Is Autism?
Autism is a complex neurological disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life. It affects the brain’s ability to communicate and interact with others, resulting in unique social, communication, and behavioral challenges.

What Causes Autism?
– Genetics
– Drugs/Medication
– Environmental Factors
– Vaccines
– Infection During Pregnancy
– A Mother Who Experienced Childhood Abuse

How Do You Know If Someone Has Autism?
– no gesturing by 12 months
– when they’re a child, they pretend play far less than other children
– odd or intensely focused interests
– concrete or literal thinking
– have trouble understanding emotions
– show an interest in peers but lack conversational skills
– prevalence of epilepsy
– gastrointestinal disorders (GI)
– restrictive eating
– sleep problems
– anxiety
– attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
– obsessive-compulsive disorder
– mood disorders
– disruptive behavior disorders
– loss or little to no motor skills
– coarse features
– poor eye contact
– lack of showing and sharing
– language delay
– sensory integration disorder
– repetitive behavior

Challenges Faced By Autistic People
– Someone With Autism Can Struggle With Change
– Autistic People Struggle With Anxiety
– People With Autism Struggle With Communication

How You Can Embrace Your Autistic Children
– Seek Out Professional Help
– Be Consistent
– Stick To A Schedule
– Reward Good Behavior
– Create A Home Safety Zone
– Pay Heed To Your Child’s Sensory Sensitivities

How You Can Embrace Your Autistic Friend
– Ask How To Be A Good Friend
– Be An Active Listener
Be Supportive
– Help Them With Their Social Skills
– Don’t Make Choices For Them
– Be Considerate When Planning To Go Out Together
– Be Specific
– Be Understanding If They Want To Be Alone
– Treat Them As An Equal

Listen to our quick audio

Did you know that doctors diagnose 1 in 68 kids with autism? That’s more common than all the kids with childhood cancer, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome combined!

Despite this, many people still do not understand what autism is and how to support those with it best. If you’re one of these people, we at Ultihealthguide encourage you to learn more about autism and embrace it.

Some people with autism may have trouble talking or need extra help with everyday things, while others can do a lot and are capable. The critical thing to know is that each person with autism is different and special in their unique way. So, when we learn about autism, let’s remember to embrace and appreciate the uniqueness of each individual! There is no one-size-fits-all to this disorder.

Did you know?

Affective Communication is vital for understanding those with autism, as they may express emotions differently than neurotypical individuals.”

What is autism?

Autism, also known as an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), is a severe condition that affects communication and behavior. It can include a range of symptoms and abilities. ASD might be a little complicated or need full-time care in a particular institution, depending on the severity of the condition.

Did you know that there are more boys with autism than girls? For every three boys with autism, there is about one girl with autism. Autism is more common in boys. Also, some girls with autism might not get diagnosed because it can be harder to recognize them. So, it’s essential to understand these differences to help everyone with autism get the support they need! [1]

Misdiagnosis, late diagnosis, or neglect may occur for females with autism spectrum disorder. Girls with autism might show fewer obvious signs than boys, making it harder to tell if they have it. They might even try to hide their difficulties in social situations, which they call “camouflaging.” Diagnosing autism early for girls can be challenging due to these factors. It’s essential to be aware of these differences so girls can get the help and support they need. Likewise, gender biases and stereotypes of ASD as a male disorder could also hamper diagnoses in girls.

What causes autism?

In the National Library Of Medicine’s study Examining the Causes of Autism, the exact cause of ASD is unknown. Researchers believe that genetic and environmental factors, as well as the mother’s habits or body, cause it. [2]

Table about the causes of autism

Genetics

Sometimes, families can see autism. If someone in your family has autism, there’s a chance that you might have it too, but it doesn’t mean you definitely will.

You see, our genes or DNA act like instructions for our bodies, and our parents can pass them down to us. Some people might have specific genes that make autism more likely for them. But having those genes doesn’t mean they will have autism; it increases the chance of getting it.

About 40 to 80 percent of the risk for autism is because of genes. If someone in your family has autism, there’s a higher chance that other family members might have it too. But it’s not the only thing that matters. Other things can also affect whether someone develops autism. So, it’s like a mix of factors that can make someone more or less likely to have autism.

Drugs/medication

When a mom is pregnant, taking certain medicines like valproic acid and serotonin reuptake inhibitors could increase the chance of her baby having autism. For instance, when some moms took pills for epilepsy during pregnancy, about 7.5 out of 100 kids had a neurodevelopmental disorder, which can include autism. [3]

That’s why doctors and moms must be careful about the medicines they use during pregnancy. They want to ensure the baby stays safe and healthy, so they will choose the proper medication that won’t cause any problems.

Environmental factors

Researchers who participated in the study “Examining the Causes of Autism” have examined environmental toxins. Some things can make our air dirty and unsuitable for breathing. Cars cause some of these things when they release pollution. Smoking cigarettes also makes the air foul.

And even big factories that make things can release heavy metals and pesticides that harm our air. So, we must be careful and keep our air clean and healthy!

If a family’s home is near a highway or an agricultural region during pregnancy, there are indications that the autism risk may be higher. But, researchers need to investigate this area further.

Vaccines

Autism is a condition that affects the way our brain develops and works. It’s not something we are born with; it happens after birth. Something might happen to our brain that causes autism, but it’s not because of something that happened before we were born. It’s important to understand that our brain is unique, which makes each of us special! Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations given to children between one year and 12 months of age might turn a healthy kid into an autistic one.

There is very little evidence for this. In the late 1970s, people became worried because some children showed “regressive onset.” It means that a kid seems to be doing okay in their first year or two, but then something happens, and they start losing their ability to talk and interact with others.

They might become more like how someone with autism acts. The regressive onset and its effects made people concerned about what might be causing it.

Infection during pregnancy

In a study by Stella Chess, a child psychiatrist found that 37% of children exposed to rubella had intellectual disabilities, while nine were also diagnosed with autism.

Sixty-four percent of women surveyed in the US have experienced an infection during their pregnancies. The National Library Of Medicine’s article on Examining the Causes of Autism states that it doesn’t always lead to autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. It can be an influencing factor. [4]

A mother who experienced childhood abuse

Those exposed to childhood abuse are likely to engage in behaviors that may harm the fetus. These include smoking, drug abuse, and overeating (being obese).

Exposure to intimate partner violence or extreme stress in the prenatal period is also likely to cause autism. As stated in the National Library Of Medicine’s article, Maternal Exposure To Childhood Abuse Is Associated With Elevated Risk Of Autism. [5]

Video

How do you know if someone has autism?

The earliest symptoms of ASD occur between 12 and 24 months. Symptoms can appear earlier or later than that. A child might not show signs of autism while young. Once they grow older, these signs may become more prevalent, and it’s easier to diagnose.

Or more complex, depending on the individual. Symptoms can also differ as an individual could exhibit all or only three signs of autism. The study “Autism Spectrum Disorder” by the National Library of Medicine can confirm the following symptoms. [6]

Signs of autism

  • no gesturing by 12 months
  • when they’re a child, they pretend play far less than other children
  • odd or intensely focused interests
  • concrete or literal thinking
  • have trouble understanding emotions
  • show an interest in peers but lack conversational skills
  • prevalence of epilepsy
  • gastrointestinal disorders (GI)
  • restrictive eating
  • sleep problems
  • anxiety
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • mood disorders
  • disruptive behavior disorders
  • loss or little to no motor skills
  • coarse features
  • poor eye contact
  • lack of showing and sharing 
  • language delay 
  • sensory integration disorder
  • repetitive behavior
Challenges faced by autistic people infographic
Embrace Autism inforgraphic

Challenges faced by autistic people

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects social skills, communication, and behavior. People with autism face many daily challenges that neurotypical people will never understand and take for granted.

Tasks or situations that are easy for us will never be easy for those with autism.

Someone with autism can struggle with change

Individuals on the autism spectrum may be more sensitive to change. Many people on the autism spectrum prefer consistent environments with regular patterns because of their behavioral, informational processing, and sensory characteristics.

Even minor changes can be stressful due to restricted and repetitive interests, sensory processing differences, and heightened anxiety. You can read more about this in Common Challenges by Autism Tasmania. [7]

Autistic people struggle with anxiety

People with autism have higher levels of anxiety than their typically developing counterparts. [8] Anxiety may manifest in an autistic person through:

  • social phobia
  • excessive worry/rumination
  • obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • hyper-vigilance, or seeming “shell shocked.”
  • phobias
  • avoidance behaviors
  • rigid routines and resistance to change
  • stimming and/or self-injurious behavior
  • controlling behaviors – oppositional defiance
  • meltdowns
  • shut down

People with autism struggle with communication

The ability of children with ASD to communicate and use language depends on their intellectual and social growth. Some youngsters with ASD may be unable to talk or speak, while others may have minor speaking abilities. Others might have an extensive vocabulary and can discuss specific themes at length.

Many children with ASD struggle to comprehend words and sentences at an early age, and they may also be unable to interpret body language or understand the meanings of different vocal tones.

Due to these issues, young persons on the autism spectrum have limited capacity to interact with others, especially people their age. The National Institute On Deafness And Other Communication Disorders’ article, “Autism Spectrum Disorder: Communication Problems in Children,” provides this information. [9]

How you can embrace your autistic children

Seek out professional help

Caring for a child with ASD may require considerable energy and time. There may be times when you are overwhelmed, stressed, or disappointed. Parenting is never simple, and raising a kid with special needs is significantly more difficult.

Don’t try to accomplish everything on your own. You don’t have to! Families of children with ASD may seek advice, a hand-up, advocacy, and support from a variety of places:

Be consistent

Children with ASD struggle to apply what they’ve learned in one location (for example, at a therapist’s office or school) to other settings, including the home. For instance, your child may use sign language at school but never consider it at home.

The most straightforward approach to ensure that your youngster’s environment is consistent is to continue what their specialists are doing at home. Find out what your child’s therapists are doing and follow their techniques at home.

Stick to a schedule

Children with ASD perform best while following a well-structured routine or timetable—yet another example of the consistency they need and desire.

Create a timetable for your kid, with meal times, therapy sessions, school hours, and bedtime. Keep disruptions to this routine to the smallest.

Reward good behavior

Positive reinforcement can significantly impact children with ASD, so make an effort to notice them performing well. Praise them when they act appropriately or acquire a new skill, being very clear about the particular conduct you’re praising them for.

Look for other methods to thank them for good conduct, such as giving them a sticker or allowing them to play with their favorite toy.

Create a home safety zone

Make a protected place for your child to unwind, feel safer, and be secure in their own space. This will entail organizing and establishing limits in a way your child can comprehend.

It’s possible that colorful tape, for example, could be helpful (colored tape marking off-limits regions, labeling objects in the house with images). Safety proofing the house may be required, mainly if your kid is prone to tantrums or other self-injurious behavior.

Pay heed to your child’s sensory sensitivities

Light, sound, touch, taste, and smell are all over-sensitive for many children with ASD. Some kids with autism are “under-sensitive” to the senses.

Determine what sights, noises, scents, motions, and tactile sensations set off your child’s “bad” or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a good reaction. To learn more about caring for your autistic children, we suggest reading Helping Your Child with Autism Thrive.

How you can embrace your autistic friend

Ask how to be a good friend

The most straightforward approach to encouraging and having a good connection is to inquire how you may be a wonderful friend, coworker, etc. So don’t be hesitant to ask your autistic buddy, “How can I be a better friend?”

Be an active listener

When spending time with your autistic buddy, listen and don’t be in a rush to respond or offer an opinion. Simply be there to provide a listening ear.

You may have to wait longer for a response or go through a lengthy explanation, but you will pick up new information in the end.

Be supportive

When a friend asks you for help, it is essential to be supportive. This means being sensitive to what they want and needs, not just how you think they should improve or behave.

Every situation is different, so it is essential to be flexible in your approach. For example, if a friend is struggling with anxiety, you might provide emotional support by listening to their concerns or keeping objects around that will soothe them.

So, we recommend these products to help and keep them calm;

Help them with their social skills

It is challenging to know how to help a friend with autism when it comes to social skills. Autistic people have difficulty reading social cues, understanding body language, and picking up on sarcasm or jokes. Their struggle can make it hard for them to make friends and participate in group conversations.

However, there are a few things you can do to help your autistic friend with their social skills. Try to be patient and understanding. Explain social concepts in simple terms, and don’t get frustrated if it takes a little longer for your friend to understand.

Don’t make choices for them

You’ve probably heard that autistic people have trouble making choices. You may have even experienced this yourself if you have an autistic friend who can’t seem to choose between two options. While it’s true that autistic people can find decision-making difficult, there’s a reason for this.

Autistic people are often susceptible to sensory input, including the choices they have to make. Every choice has sensory consequences – for example, choosing between two different foods can involve different textures, smells, and tastes.

This can be overwhelming for autistic people, who may have difficulty processing all of this information at once. Because of this, they may prefer not to make any choice.

If you have an autistic friend, it’s essential to respect their right to make their own choices.

Be considerate when planning to go out together

When hanging out with your autistic friend, it’s essential to be considerate and understanding of their needs. There are a few steps you can keep in mind to ensure everyone has a good time.

Step one; be aware of Sensory Sensitivities 

First, be aware of your friend’s sensory sensitivities. Loud music, bright lights, and large crowds can be overwhelming for them. If possible, try to avoid these situations or give your friend a heads up before they happen.

Step two; respect their personal space

Autistic people can often feel uncomfortable when someone gets too close to them or invades their personal space. You must give them the space they need and not take it personally if they need some time alone. It prevents them from feeling overwhelmed. 

Step three; be patient

Finally, be patient and understanding if your friend is having difficulty communicating. They may not be able to express themselves the way you do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to connect with you. If you’re patient and understanding, you’ll be able to have a great time together.

Be specific

When talking to your autistic friend, it is essential to be as specific as possible. The majority of people with autism have difficulty reading social cues, so they may not be able to tell if they are joking or being serious.

This can lead to misunderstandings, so it is crucial to communicate clearly. To clarify, instead of saying “I’m hungry,” say “I would like a sandwich.” By explaining like this, you will help your friend understand what you want and avoid confusion. Similarly, avoid using sarcasm or making jokes that might be misinterpreted.

Instead, stick to factual statements and simple questions that are easy to understand. Taking these precautions helps to ensure that your conversations with your autistic friend are enjoyable and productive.

Be understanding if they want to be alone

It’s essential to be understanding if your friend with ASD wants to be alone. Your autistic friend may need some time to process the social interaction or may feel overwhelmed by the noise and bustle of a crowded room.

However, don’t take it personally if they don’t want to spend time with you. Once your autistic friend has some time to recharge, they’ll likely be more than happy to resume socializing.

Treat them as an equal

Despite the challenges associated with autism, it is essential to remember that those who suffer from the condition are not dumb and should be treated as equals.

One way to think of autism is as a different operating system for the brain. While neurotypical brains can process information linearly, autistic brains often take in and process information differently. This can lead to autistic people seeming disconnected from the world around them, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t understand what’s happening.

In fact, many autistic people are brilliant and just need to find their own way of understanding and interacting with the world.

Conclusion

 For some, autism can be challenging because it makes everyday tasks more difficult. For others, autism brings with it unique gifts and talents.

Where ever your friend or a family member falls on the autism spectrum, some strategies can help them thrive. If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, read our article on High Functioning Anxiety: What is it?.

Questions And Answers

What Challenges Do Autistic People Face In A Neurotypical World?

Sometimes, people with ASD find it hard to understand certain things when they talk to others. They might miss social cues, like knowing when someone is happy or sad. It can also be tough for them to have a smooth conversation, like taking turns talking back and forth. And you might notice that they don’t look into your eyes when they talk, which is okay because everyone is different! They may also move their bodies or stare at objects for long periods.

What Is The Biggest Challenge For People With Autism?

The biggest challenge for people with autism is integration into society. Autism is a condition that makes it harder for some people to do certain things. For example, they might find it tricky to talk and play with others, as most people do. They could also have some repetitive actions they do over and over again.

References

  1. National Library of Medicine: Autism Spectrum Disorder
  2. National Library Of Medicine: Examining the Causes of Autism
  3. National Library of Medicine: Examining the Causes of Autism
  4. The National Library Of Medicine: Examining the Causes of Autism
  5. National Library Of Medicine: Maternal Exposure To Childhood Abuse Is Associated With Elevated Risk Of Autism
  6. National Library of Medicine: Autism Spectrum Disorder
  7. Autism Tasmania: Common Challenges
  8. Autism Tasmania: Common Challenges
  9. National Insitute On Deafness And Other Communication Disorders: Autism Spectrum Disorder: Communication Problems in Children

⚠️Disclaimer: The information provided on this health blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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