World Autism Awareness Day is a holiday celebrated annually on 2 April established by the United Nations and this year marks the sixth time it has been celebrated. The celebration aims, among other things, to raise public awareness of autism spectrum disorders and to improve access to care and support services for the autism community.
WHAT IS AUTISM?
Autism is a holistic developmental disorder that interferes from within with a person’s entire personality. Developmental abnormalities are evident in such important spheres of development as language, communication, social competence, emotional, cognitive and motor development. Autism is most often diagnosed during childhood, but contrary to popular opinion, it does not only occur during this period of human development.
As research shows, autism and holistic developmental disorders can become one of the most common causes of disability in children. In Western countries, autistic disorders of varying severity are diagnosed on average in every 150th or even every 100th child born. This is much higher than even 20 years ago – experts speak of a global crisis.
Every child with autism is different, and abnormalities and their degree of severity in particular spheres are specific to each child. Early therapy, focusing on the child’s skills that are not developing correctly, enables and facilitates the child’s integration into a peer group and functioning in their everyday life.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT?
– delayed learning of speech,
– repetitive movements,
– compulsive arranging of objects,
– lack of eye contact,
– lack of pleasure associated with proximity,
– difficulty distinguishing between “I” and “you”,
– difficulty in recognising the emotions of others,
– difficulty recognising irony, metaphors, jokes,
– difficulty using non-verbal communication,
– narrow interests,
– inability to change the topic of conversation.