Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Bailey Telgenhoff

What is autism, exactly?

Autism is a genetic disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate with others. It is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5). Though no known cause has been identified, genetics are most likely to be involved, and some disorders such as fragile X syndrome have been commonly sighted together with autism. This disorder does not play any role in a person's life expectancy, and with the right treatments, an autistic person can live a happy, healthy life.

That's nice, but what are the symptoms?

Some common symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • avoiding eye or physical contact
  • engaging in repetitive activities
  • being extremely sensitive or resistant to change
  • having inappropriate responses to conversation or not responding at all
  • lack of emotional expression or understanding
  • fixation with a narrow range of interests
  • having very specific food tastes
  • very high or very low IQ

Autistic children may also lose language skills even after learning them.

What is life like for a person with autism?

People with autism, especially with the right treatment, will live long, happy and healthy lives. Because autism has no influence on the life span of a person, the only thing that an autistic person needs to worry about is getting the right treatment for them. There are many different treatment options available for different symptoms such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, or even medication.

How can I support autistic people?

The best way to support people with autism is to do your research and donate to good organizations like the Organization for Autism Research. You can also help out and provide emotional support for the autistic people that you know. A little kindness goes a long way.

Common Autism Myths

  • Autism is caused by vaccines!

Despite extensive research, no link has been found between autism and vaccines.

  • Autism Speaks will help autistic people!

Autism Speaks is actually one of the worst organizations for autism. One of its main gripes against autistic people is viewing them as a disease, pushing out videos like "I am autism", a series that shows autism as a life-ruiner.

Check out the links below for more information!