2nd April is celebrated as the World Autism Day. The first thing that one might ask is what it actually is. While many young parents fail to identify an autistic child, there are various challenges that must be faced by the parents, and most importantly the child.
Understanding Autism as a medical condition is important. It is also crucial that Autistic children and adults alike are given the love and care that they clearly deserve.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in medical terms generally refers to a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized based on the severity of difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication and social interactions. However, this will vary from person to person.
While a mildly affected person may indicate behaviors such as eccentricity, a severely affected person may be unable to care for himself or even speak. However, studies show that intensive intervention at an early stage will make exceptional differences in the child’s development and outcome. Thus, determining the condition based on Symptoms and consulting with a specialist can greatly affect the child’s growth even from the age of infancy.
Some of the most obvious symptoms are disconnection from human interaction. While babies are typically responsive to sounds and people around them, a child suffering from Autism may seem indifferent and disconnected with the world, and therefore will fail to show the naturally expected attachment behaviors that children generally show towards their parents.
Moreover, Autistic children may be unable to speak throughout their growth, and often remain mute their whole life. On the other hand, those who do learn to speak, may develop limited verbal skills that may mature when they are at least 5 to 9 years old. Despite this, they often have difficulties in sustaining conversations.
Furthermore, in most cases, while their vocabulary is limited, their facial expressions and physical gestures seldom match what they are saying. In addition, the inability of others to understand these behaviors usually result in frustrating the person regardless of the age, and often ends up displaying childlike behavior such as screaming or throwing tantrums. Consequently, it can also result in anxiety and depression.
One other major symptom is the repetition in physical gestures, such as flapping the arms, walking on toes or even abruptly freezing in place. They may as well display signs of physical clumsiness, delays in speech, under-reactive to touch, movement or sound and even extremely impulsive behavior that lacks self-control.
While all these symptoms are all tell-tales, the severity and occurrence of each symptom will vary from individual to individual.
In addition, there are other medical conditions that may arise due to Autism. These include seizures, allergies, sleep dysfunctions and Chromosome deformity that may further result in other health issues.
Despite the fact that they indicate both physically and mentally challenging issues, many autistic children and adults have demonstrated exceptional skills that have left the world in awe.
One such example is the Three-year-old Iris Grace Halmshaw. Her love of painting has made her an art sensation, a girl who has never spoken a word, but expresses herself through beautiful and intricate paintings which are now being sold for minimum $ 500 apiece.
This girl is only one example of millions of individuals who suffer from Autism. While it is a medical condition, it separates them from us ‘Normal’ people by a milestone. There are numerous stories of their kindness, brilliance and astonishing talent. Their world is so much more different than ours, and it is our responsibility that we try to see what their world looks like rather than just grabbing them into our definition of normalcy.
The journey taken by the family of 2 twin boys Jacob and Samuel is one such story, which indicates the challenges, caring and love that was given in order to unite two unique worlds as one.