April is World Autism Awareness Month and we’re excited to share pertinent information with you… all month long! This 2-part series will not only shed light on Autism but you’ll get to hear from families that have been impacted by Autism as well. We hope you are enlightened in some way.

The Mayo Clinic defines Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder as it is medically termed, as a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term "spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity.

Autism spectrum disorder begins in early childhood and can potentially cause issues as one matures— socially, in school and at work, for example. Within the 1st year, a child can often show symptoms of autism. Both genetic disorders and environmental factors such as air pollutants, complications during pregnancy, medications and viral infections can be contributing causes. Autism appears in boys 4 times more often than in girls. Cases are continuing to increase annually. The average cost is $60.000 per year to provide for a child with autism spectrum disorder.

Possible behavioral signs of Autism in children are:

  • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand flapping
  • Performs activities that could cause self-harm, such as biting or head-banging
  • Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change
  • Has problems with coordination or has odd movement patterns, such as clumsiness or walking on toes, and has odd, stiff or exaggerated body language
  • Is fascinated by details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but doesn't understand the overall purpose or function of the object
  • Is unusually sensitive to light, sound or touch, yet may be indifferent to pain or temperature
  • Doesn't engage in imitative or make-believe play
  • Fixates on an object or activity with abnormal intensity or focus
  • Has specific food preferences, such as eating only a few foods, or refusing foods with a certain texture

Possible Communication and Interaction Signs of Autism in Children:

  • Fails to respond to his or her name or appears not to hear you at times
  • Resists cuddling and holding, and seems to prefer playing alone, retreating into his or her own world
  • Has poor eye contact and lacks facial expression
  • Doesn't speak or has delayed speech, or loses previous ability to say words or sentences
  • Can't start a conversation or keep one going, or only starts one to make requests or label items
  • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm and may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
  • Repeats words or phrases verbatim, but doesn't understand how to use them
  • Doesn't appear to understand simple questions or directions
  • Doesn't express emotions or feelings and appears unaware of others' feelings
  • Doesn't point at or bring objects to share interest
  • Inappropriately approaches a social interaction by being passive, aggressive or disruptive
  • Has difficulty recognizing nonverbal cues, such as interpreting other people's facial expressions, body postures or tone of voice


Babies will usually show a sign of developmental delay before the age of 2. This is the time to make an appointment to see your pediatrician. At the current time, there is no prevention for Autism. But we can ensure fulfilling lives for these children. 


For more information, you can contact the Autism Science Foundation 



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