Did you know, approximately 1 in 70 people are considered to be on the autism spectrum? This means it is likely that you have met or will meet someone with autism in your lifetime.
It is estimated there are more than 205,000 Australians living with autism, with the prevalence of the disorder on the rise.
Today (2nd April) is World Autism Day (WAD), and the start of Autism Awareness Month in Australia. WAD recognises those living with autism, and works to increase understanding and awareness of the disorder and highlight that every autistic person is unique.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects how a person thinks, communicates and interacts with others and their environment. Typically diagnosed in childhood, males are 3.5 times more likely than females to be diagnosed with the condition. However, it is not unusual for autism to be diagnosed in later stages of life.
The disorder is lifelong, and can present as challenges with communication, social interactions and restricted and repetitive behaviours. Other challenges associated with ASD can include:
- Difficulty participating in a back and forth conversation
- Lack of interest in social interactions
- Difficulty understanding gestures and facial expressions
- Repetitive speech
- Inflexibility to routine changes
- Sensory sensitivity, particularly to sounds and smells
However, as described by the autism spectrum, the disorder can greatly vary from person to person, with each affected individual having their own unique needs. As can often be the case with non-physical disabilities, there is a significant lack of understanding and recognition of autism amongst the general public and how best to support those living with the disorder.
For further information about ASD and to learn how to you can help improve awareness and support of those affected by ASD, head to: