5 Things to Know about Autism

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The ribbon symbolizes autism awareness.

1. What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction”.

2. What are the characteristics of autism?
People with autism may be effected socially, behaviorally and communicatively. Autism Spectrum Australia introduces such characteristics. “Behavioral problems may occur as a result of their heightened sensitivity to a sound or something they may have seen or felt”. Social interaction issues varies individually. Thereby, they may be effected relationally, emotionally, and/or communicatively.

3. How common is autism?
“1 in 68 children are on the autism spectrum . There has been much stipulation as to why the diagnosing of autism has increased tremendously, especially in the United States. An article recently posted by CNN mentions the high frequency of doctors diagnosing someone with autism.”More research will be needed to determine if over-diagnosis has become more common, but the work does show that a child’s diagnosis can sometimes change as the children get older and doctors learn more about the child”.

4. What causes autism?
No specific cause has been pinpointed, however, “genetics, metabolic or neurological factors, infections and complications at birth” are thought to be of much influence.

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The puzzle pieces represent autism through the unknown causes of the disorder.

5. What treatments are available in the Santa Barbara area?
The UCSB Gevirtz School allows young children to partake in research during a four month time span. During this time, the children “make great strides in both socialization and communication”. The parents also receive information which they can utilize to assist with their child’s needs. Adults can also receive assistant through the Gevirtz school by improving their skills for the work force. This is free, as a grant was recently given to aide such adults. The Autism Society of Santa Barbara is also a great resource for those wanting assistance as well as information on autism. They support, educate, advocate and bring awareness to individuals with autism and their families. There are numerous links available to specialists in both the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles areas.

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About Author

Jessica Kennedy

Jessica Kennedy is originally from the Santa Ynez Valley. Kennedy is in her third quarter at Antioch University Santa Barbara, and she will be graduating by Fall 2016. Her main interest is French and hopes to be a French teacher in the near future. During her free time, she enjoys stand up paddling at Refugio Beach.

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