Robin Glynn – General Assignment Reporter –
As Apr. 2 marked the sixth annual World Autism Awareness Day, the Disability Resource Center brought awareness to the developmental disease.
“Autism impacts one in 88 people,” said Christy Siuda, graduate intern for the Disability Resource Center. “It is a developmental disability, and boys are four times more likely to have autism.”
According to Kristin Reinwald, communication disorders major, autism is a topic frequently discussed in her courses.
“Our focus is on helping those who struggle to communicate, and those with autism do have trouble communicating not only in a social setting but sometimes even articulating simple wants and needs.”
Reinwald said autism is becoming more common and with the increase comes the interest in treatment.
“Each case of autism is unique depending on the individual’s place on the autism spectrum,” said Reinwald. “Someone with high functioning autism will have different needs than a person who is lower on the spectrum.”
Reinwald said this point is where communication disorders majors like hers come in handy, whether working as a speech language pathologist who works on communicating and social skills, or as a special education teacher structuring a curriculum around a student’s needs, or an applied behavior analyst who also helps a client live in the world with some adjustments.
“With autism becoming more common, there needs to be more awareness,” Reinwald said, “because it is very likely that students and faculty will interact with someone who has a form of autism possibly on a daily basis no matter what field he or she goes into.”
Reinwald said by learning more and spreading awareness, everyone can realize that people with autism just navigate the world in a different manner and still should be respected.
“I think prevalence of autism has exponentially increased since the new millennium,” said Reinwald. “There are numerous reasons why, whether because there are more resources to test for it or due to outside causes.”
Approximately 67 million people around the world are diagnosed with a form of autism.
“I think there definitely needs to be more research into definite causes of autism before we go about treating autism. Looking into environmental causes would be a good start, in addition to prenatal care and so on.”
Siuda said if people are encouraged to wear blue to their support.
According to the Autism Speaks website, autism costs a family $60,000 a year, and it receives less than five percent of research funding.
“There has been a change over the years,” said Siuda. “Autism was first discovered in the 1960’s.”
Some of the symptoms that may indicate a child has autism, according to Autism Speaks, are no big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter, no babbling by 12 months, and any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.
Some of the symptoms of autism include social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.
Reinwald thinks more can be done to help prevent the occurrence of autism.
“I think there definitely needs to be more research into definite causes of autism before we go about treating autism,” said Reinwald. “Looking into environmental causes would be a good start, in addition to prenatal care and so on.”
There is cure for autism, but, according to autismspeaks.org, early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes.