Join the Discussion on Autism - April 10, 2019

April is National Autism Awareness Month. It is currently estimated that 1 in 59 children has a diagnosis of some varying degree of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Everyone is encouraged to learn more about autism throughout the month of April, to increase acceptance and global understanding of individuals diagnosed with autism. 

We are making an effort to educate and support staff and families in learning the signs of autism. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, special guest speaker Lisa Williamson, M.A., CCC-SLP will lead an important discussion on Autism. Williamson is the Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinical Supervisor at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center

The discussion will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Action Agency Head Start Life Learning Center in the main muscle room.

What is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.

We know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.

Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.

Indicators of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism.

* In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four distinct autism diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They included autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.