What is Autism?

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How does one begin to answer this question?  The more I learn about Autism, the more questions I generate.  Below are some good general definitions. 

If you are a parent or caregiver who is concerned about your child’s development,  please click here.

If you are seeking a way to explain autism to family members, friends or colleagues of all ages, please see the resources listed here.

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From the Autism Society website:

“Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.  Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.  There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.”

From the Princeton Child Development Institute website:

“Autism is a severe developmental disability that is usually noted within the first three years of life. It occurs in 1 of 110 births, exists in every ethnic group and every part of the world, and is much more common in boys than girls. Before treatment, youngsters with autism exhibit very uneven patterns of development. Often, speech is absent or very delayed and children do not relate to objects, events, or other people in expected ways, nor do they respond to touch, taste, sight, or sound in the same manner as their typical peers. Many children exhibit extremely dysfunctional responses, including stereotypic movements, tantrums, and self-injury.

Although the causes of autism are not yet known, there is some evidence that there may be multiple causes, such as genetic factors; insults to brain development (e.g., maternal health problems during pregnancy or problems during delivery); or parents or children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Because the etiology of autism is not clearly understood, prevention is not possible. But a significant body of evidence shows that applied behavior analysis technology can make a world of difference for people with autism, especially when treatment begins early.”

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Everyone’s Autism story is different, and the joys and challenges of families on the spectrum are complex.  I welcome dialogue with persons with autism, parents, family members, professionals & caregivers alike. 

Please feel free to email me at autismhomerescue@gmail.com.

 

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 16:57:48

    This is an important place.
    I’m thankful for your blog.

    I’m an SLP and social cognitive therapist. I’m writing about autism and mindfulness so it makes sence that I found this space. I’m a fan of Tara B too (and PemaChodron). I think there are beautiful links between social thinking & cognitive behavioral therpay & mindfulness & self awareness & experience sharing….. they are slowly getting clearer to me as I work with individuals with diverse thinking (autism) abilities.

    Your son’s poem is really gorgeous. Smart of you to pull it out.

    light to you and your family! keep writing.

    Reply

    • cathykal
      Jul 13, 2011 @ 10:51:37

      Susan, thank you for your beautiful words. I haven’t been writing much these days, but am beginning to feel inspired again. I am so glad to know that you found something here that resonated and I so appreciate your sharing that! Light to you & yours also!

      Reply

  2. Oliver
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 21:18:45

    I’m an SLP and social cognitive therapist. I’m writing about autism and mindfulness so it makes sence that I found this space. I’m a fan of Tara B too (and PemaChodron). I think there are beautiful links between social thinking & cognitive behavioral therpay & mindfulness & self awareness & experience sharing….. they are slowly getting clearer to me as I work with individuals with diverse thinking (autism) abilities.
    +1

    Reply

    • cathykal
      Dec 27, 2011 @ 16:17:53

      Oliver, thank you for your kind words, I am glad you found this space also. And thank you for making the connections– your work is important to families like mine!

      Reply

  3. Trackback: World Autism Awareness Day 2013 | Autism Home Rescue

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