Person County Autism Support Group of NC

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What Is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that affects a person's ability to understand what they see, hear and otherwise sense.  It is a neurological disorder that impacts communication, social interactions and behavior. People with autism learn differently than others. They may have problems understanding what people say to them.  Sometimes certain smells, sounds and taste cause the person with autism to feel bad and they may become upset.


What are some characteristics of people with autism?

It is important to understand that just as every person is different so is every person on the autism spectum, no two will be the same. Some of the characteristics seen in children with autism are

  • SPEECH is likely to develop much more slowly than their peers. Speech may remain absent, or appear and then vanish by the age of four. Speech may include peculiar patterns or intonations.
  • SOCIAL INTERACTION is most offen notice because of the lack of social bonds. The person who has autism may not follow the parents or other children around the house -- or may not go to other for comfort when hurt. They often avoid eye contact, resist being cuddled or picked up.
  • SENSORY DIFFERENCES in a person with autism maybe they do not react the same way to a variety of environmental stimuli. They may have intense feelings of touch, sound, smell, taste, and feeling. What does not bother most people can be very painful for a person with ASD.
  • PEAK SKILLS are very strong abilities is such areas as computations in math, drawing, music, or memory of data, whether trival or important. At the same time they may not be able to discuss things such as concept of time or the weather.
  • PLAY is usually not initiated by a person with autism. They may prefer to play alone.
  • NEED FOR ROUTINE maybe very important to a person with ASD. They may throw tantrums that last hours because of a small change in daily routines. They may have repeative behaviors such as flicking or flapping their hands, lining up toys, drawing the same picture, or watching the same part of a tv show or movie.
  • BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS can be very passive or hyperactive. People with ASD can demonstrate deep interest in objects or activities. Aggression toward other or themselves is a possibility, especially when frustrated.  

These are just a few characteristics of people with autism.  Individuals with autism may display characteristics of the disorder that range from mild to severe.


How is autism diagnosed?

Autism requires a team of professionals, that include pediatrician, child psychologist, speech therapist, and occupational therapist to diagnosis accurately.


Some Myths about autism

Autism is contagious--While there is research showing that autism SOMETIMES runs in families, it is not contagious. Children can not catch it.

Autism only affects boys--Even though it is four times more common in males than females, autism affects both genders.

Autism is caused by aloof parents who are emotionally unresponsive--Bad or inattentive parenting does not cause autism.

Children with autism never learn to communicate and play with other children--Communication is often difficult for children with autism, and many children learn alternative ways to communicate and play. Most children with autism learn to communicate.

Children with autism do not like to be touched--Tactile sensitivity is common in children with autism. However most enjoy hugs and being close to the people around them. (The children I personally know LOVE to be hugged.)

All children with autism have genius like talents, such as playing the piano or solving mathematical equations--Children with autism are just as all other children, they learn what they love.

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