Wise up! What you don’t know about “Autism”.

1st April 2015 Ever been to a restaurant and seen an “unruly” child and thought “gosh, this child is spoilt and has not been disciplined well”? Well…don’t jump to that conclusion yet…the child could in fact be “autistic” Let me feed your knowledge with some of the signs that can be identified in persons with this condition.

Many of us (especially in Nigeria) hear the word autism and dismiss it thinking that it isn’t present in Nigeria, therefore we don’t need to know what it is. You would be surprised to know the amount of people affected by autism in Nigeria…ignorance in this case is certainly not bliss. So many have a reduced quality of life because they are not aware they are in fact, autistic.

Globally, it’s a sad fact but we are not well educated on the subject of “autism” but I hope that by the end of this piece, you will be more informed than you were five minutes ago, as I identify some of the signs and symptoms of autism so that detection will become easier. Furthermore, so that next time you see a child misbehaving at a restaurant, you will show more tolerance and compassion. It is important to note that Autism and its effects can be suppressed with the right medication.

Proof of suppression and living a fulfilled life if treated (or at least diagnosed and recognized) include notable figures that the world has learnt a lot from such as Albert Einstein, Mozart, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin . Contemporary famous faces include Tim Burton, Jerry Seinfeld and musician Courtney Love

Persons that fall under the autistic spectrum tend not to be able to make good eye contact or other non-verbal communication cues that we otherwise take for granted. These in turn, are the cause of their lack of responsiveness in general social interaction.

Children and persons with autism do not understand the “give-and-take” concept. They cannot hold a conversation with another whereby one talks, the other listens then responds. In respect to playtime, autistic children do not know how to share or take turns nor can they spontaneously show something interesting to their playmate.

Another sign of autism is the tendency to withdraw. Those who fall under the autistic spectrum tend to go into their own world and be withdrawn even with the presence of others. This can however, reduce depending on how the autism is treated. This is done by teaching the child about social skills (in an autism treatment setting or at home).

One of the signatures of autism is the poor language and communication skills that an autistic person has. Even if the person knows the words, they may have trouble stringing sentences together; this is due to their developmental delay.

An autistic person is resistant to change. Even the tiniest change to a particular routine could be met with frustration, irritation, confusion…or even denial to the change.

This one is quite interesting and distinctive… an autistic child has a very high pain threshold. It’d take something extremely painful for the child to react or to cry out for help.

I’ve named a few signs but they don’t stop there and neither should you…do some more research as you could be living with someone with autism and you don’t even know it. Remember, the effects can be suppressed with medication, but first it must be identified. World Autism Awareness Day is on Thursday 2nd April 2015.

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