Autism Awareness Month
July 29, 2009
To highlight the growing need for awareness and concern about autism, the United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.
Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Autism, sometimes called "classical autism", is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASD. A spectrum disorder affects individuals differently, with varying degrees of severity and often found in combination with other disabilities. The three ASD's are Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). The other Pervasive Developmental Disorders that are less common are Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Rett’s Disorder.
Autism is a neurological disorder, which affects the functioning of the brain and occurs in approximately one out of every 150 births. The disorder is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism’s occurrence. It is conservatively estimated that nearly 1.5 million people in the United States today have some form of autism and is the third most common developmental disability - making it even more common than Down Syndrome, or pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. Yet the majority of the public, including many professionals in the medical, educational and vocational fields, are still unaware of how autism affects people and how to work effectively with individuals with autism.
Some adults with ASD, especially those with high-functioning autism or with Asperger Syndrome, are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs and are capable of employment. Nevertheless, communication and social problems often cause difficulties in many areas of life. A nurturing environment at home, at school, and later in job training and at work, helps persons with ASD continue to learn and to develop throughout their lives.
For a listing of the Autism Society of America's (ASA), "Eight ways you can celebrate National Autism Awareness Month" visit the website: http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=research_awareness
(Source: Autism Society of America and the National Institute of Mental Health)
The Autism Society of Maine
National Institute of Mental Health
Resource list for Maine
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Retts Disorder
The Maine Department of Labor provides equal opportunity in employment and programs. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.