World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day
World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day

In 2007, The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. It’s aim is to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life for those with autism which should not prevent anyone from leading a full and meaningful life within society.

2024’s theme for Autism Awareness Day is “Moving from Surviving to Thriving“. In order to raise awareness, it’s important to first understand the different types of autism. With every individual’s experience being unique, learning the different types of autism – including the causes, symptoms and treatments associated – is not only helpful but essential to developing successful treatment plans that can be tailored specifically for your loved one.

“Autism can’t define me. I define autism.” – Dr. Kerry Magro, Award Winning Speaker on Autism and Neurodiversity.

What are the Causes?

Autism and heart jigsaw and Understanding the Different Types of Autism

The exact cause of Autism is not known, but research suggests a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role in its development.

Some risk factors include a family history of Autism, genetic mutations, and prenatal exposure to certain toxins.

What are the Symptoms?

Boy and puzzle and Understanding the Different Types of Autism

Symptoms of Autism can vary, but common signs include difficulties in social interaction, communication challenges, and repetitive behaviors.

Children with Autism may also have sensory issues, such as being sensitive to noise or light.

What are the Treatments?

Autism and treatments and Understanding the Different Types of Autism

It’s crucial for individuals with Autism to receive support from a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including paediatricians, psychiatrists, and therapists.

Families and caregivers can also benefit from support groups and educational resources.

How You Can Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

– Promote understanding and acceptance of the Autistic community within your friend and family circles.
– Organise an activity or day out for the Autistic person in your life.
– Educate yourself by reading books or watching a video relating to Autism or Autistic people’s experiences.

World Autism Awareness Day

The Different Types of Autism

Classic Autism

Classic autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Kanner’s syndrome, is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Classic autism affects communication, social interaction and behavior. It’s seen as a range of conditions as it can have an effect on people in different ways and may show up differently in each individual.

Common Symptoms of Classic Autism:

  • Delays with language development.
  • Difficulty with social interaction.
  • Repetitive behaviours or routines.

Treatment includes behavioral management therapy and cognitive behavior therapy depending on the needs. In Ireland, there are a variety of resources available for individuals and families affected by classic autism. The HSE provides a range of services, including assessments, diagnosis, and support for children and adults with ASD. There are several non-profit organisations such as Autism Ireland, AsIAm, and the Irish Society for Autism that provide information, advocacy, and support for those on the autism spectrum.

World Autism Awareness Day

1 in 65 or 1.5%, of the school-going population in Ireland, has a diagnosis of Autism.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

PDD-NOS is a term used to describe a group of disorders characterised by delays in socialisation and communication skills. It’s considered a milder form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). People with PDD-NOS often display symptoms of ASD but do not meet the criteria for a specific diagnosis of Autism, Asperger Syndrome, or another pervasive developmental disorder.

Common Symptoms of PDD-NOS:

  • Delayed language development.
  • Difficulty with social interactions.
  • Repetitive behaviours.

However, the symptoms of PDD-NOS can vary widely from person to person, making it difficult to diagnose.
It’s important for individuals with PDD-NOS to receive early intervention and treatment to help them overcome their difficulties. Treatment typically involves a combination of behavioral therapy, speech therapy and social skills training.

Rett Syndrome

Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic neurological disorder that affects the development of the brain. It primarily affects females.

Common Symptoms of Rett’s Syndrome:

  • Problems with communication.
  • Problems with coordination.
  • Other developmental milestones.
  • Breathing problems.

There is currently no cure for Rett Syndrome, but there are supportive treatments that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment can involve medication for breathing irregularities and motor difficulties. Occupational therapy and physical therapy to prolong mobility can also be used as treatment.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

This is a rare condition that affects children between the ages of 3 and 4 years old. Children with this disorder will experience a significant loss of language, social, and motor skills that have been previously acquired.

Common Symptoms of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder:

  • Significant loss of language, social and motor skills that have been previously acquired.
  • Lack of social and self help skills.
  • Problems in the nervous system such difficulty with speaking and breathing.

Understanding the various types of autism is important as it can provide insight into what someone with autism experiences. As technology evolves and medical science progresses, the definitions and categories of autism will likely expand and become even more finely tailored. While no two people with autism are the same, knowing the different types is a valuable step toward helping others who have it and understanding it in the best way possible.

Here at Autism Assessment Centre, when there is a question about your child’s functioning, we understand how important knowledge and trusted guidance can be. Whether there is a diagnosis or not, we will always take time to walk you through the process of getting help for your child. Our services include a multidisciplinary/ multi-factor assessment that results in a report and feedback session to guide you to the next steps.

Autism Assessment Centre

Understanding: We strive to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible.
Empathy: We always listen to and support the children and families who come to us.
Professionalism: Our clinicians are experts in their field.
Quality: Our reports are written to meet HSE standards.

World Autism Awareness Day

Find out more about our services and how we can help.