Autism Awareness

24 March 2020 | Health

Jhanre Pretorius

Autism refers to a broad range of conditions, characterized by challenges with social skills, receptive behaviours and non-verbal communication

Autism is seen as a disability as it is not understood or people with autism don't act normal due to the social scale. If people see autism as a disability then why wasn't Albert Einstein seen as a disabled. Studies show that Einstein showed several symptoms of autism. He only started speaking at the age of 3 and repeated his sentences obsessively until he was 7years of age. And for continued decades was highly focused on one problem without paying attention to the other’s views.

It is said that Isaac Newton could also be seen as a classic case. He hardly spoke and was engrossed with his work that at times he forgot to eat.

Whenever he had a lecture and no one showed up, he would still give it, talking to an empty room.

Autism affects around about 1 in every 68 children, with boys being 4 times more likely to have autism than girls. Brain structures in different genders differ. One of the differences are the thickness of the cortex also the outer layer of the brain that is embedded with nerves involving memory, thinking and language. Males tend to have a thinner cortex and females a thicker one. This difference is a pretty reliable one to distinguish males from females.

Taking this into consideration after thorough studies have been done it is showed that the thinner the cortex the more likely the person is to have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

"The assumption was that if the male were more vulnerable to ASD then maybe the brains of females with autism have features that resemble the more male-like brain" says Christine Eckera, professor of neuroscience and brain imaging.

The Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing disorder, and is underfunded. More children will be diagnosed with the disorder than that will be of Aids, Diabetes and cancer combined. And even though autism doesn't necessarily affect one’s health as AIDS and Cancer does, it is still serious and deserves the same respect.

Autism is not supported and not understood either, people need to be more aware of the symptoms and how to react and be about a person with Autism. People can live a normal life and be autistic. Everyday more and more people are born autistic and it is not someone’s fault it is also not contagious. But there are ways of dealing with it.

•Schools like the Autistic school in Swakopmund, is a registered special needs school with a special need curriculum.

•Speech therapy to help the sign language kids or even the non-verbal.

•Occupational therapy where kids are helped to understand their senses. Why this is wet and this is cold. My tongue can taste and my ears can hear.

Autism is a very broad and complex disorder, no 2 autistic have the same level or do exactly the same things.

An interview was held with the founder and principal as well as teacher of the Swakopmund, Mrs. Almarie Mosterd.

When Mrs. Mosterd was asked what she thinks are the biggest challenges with being Autistic, she replied and said: "Autistic children struggle to make sense of the world, as it to them is either white or black. Yes, nor No. They don’t know maybe; it is too grey for them. They struggle to understand because it isn't concrete enough. The struggle with proprioception (perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body) and with their balance. Furthermore, Mrs. Mosterd said that it all comes down to the fact that the person without the disorder does not understand a person with the disorder. And an autistic person does not understand how we do things. All the social rules; how to act in a shop or how to eat and react to situations. All these things bring difficulties that Autistic kids don't understand what exactly you’re expecting from them and they get frustrated.

Early Signs of Autism

No social smiling by 6 months.

No one-word communications by 16 months.

No two-word phrases by 24 months.

No babbling, pointing, or meaningful gestures by 12 months.

Poor eye contact.

Not sharing items or sharing interests.

Unusual attachment to one particular toy or object.

Flapping of hands.

Food for thought

-Second of April is international Autism day.

-Autistic people deserve respect as they are dealing with 2worlds.

-It is not an illness, meaning it is not contagious.

-It is not a curse.

-It is not a disability, more of a special ability.

-People with Autism deserve to be loved too.

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