In April, Autism Speaks kicks off World Autism Month, beginning with the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. BAYADA employees from across the country showed their support by taking the pledge to “Light It Up Blue” to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and non-verbal communication. There is not one autism, but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. People with autism often have medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures, and sleep disturbances. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children.
ASD begins before the age of three and continues across the lifespan. Further evaluation should be considered if a child:
- Is unable to respond to their name by 12 months
- Does not point at objects to show interest by 14 months
- Does not play “pretend” games by 18 months
- Has trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Repeats words or phrases over and over
- Gives unrelated answers to questions
- Resists change and has a need for routine
- Has obsessive interests
- Has repetitive body movements such as flapping their hands, rocking their body, or spinning in circles
- Has sensory sensitivities to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
In BAYADA’s Hawaii-based behavioral health offices, BAYADA offers applied behavior analysis (ABA), an evidence-based intervention in the reduction of challenging behaviors and the increase of functional skills for individuals with autism and related learning or social disorders. To find ABA resources near you, visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/resource-guide