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World Autism Awareness Day

“I am different, not less” - Dr. Temple Grandin (American academic, animal behaviourist, and autistic person.)

April 2 marks World Autism Awareness Day. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal 1-2% of the Canadian population is on the autism spectrum. Testing and diagnosis are usually done at an early age (3-8) but many adults also receive an autism diagnosis. 

According to WebMD

Autism, also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complicated, lifelong condition that includes problems with communication and behavior. It's a spectrum disorder, which means it affects people in different ways and in varying degrees. It usually appears by age 2 or 3. 

People with autism have trouble with communication. They have trouble understanding what other people think and feel. This makes it hard for them to express themselves, either with words or through gestures, facial expressions, and touch.

People with autism may have problems with learning. Their skills might develop unevenly. For example, they could have trouble communicating but be unusually good at art, music, math, or things that involve memory. Because of this, they might do especially well on tests of analysis or problem-solving.

Here in Edmonton is a supportive non-profit organization called Autism Edmonton. From the About section of their Facebook page

Since 1971, Autism Edmonton (Autism Society of Edmonton Area) has provided services and support to autistic individuals in our community. Autism Edmonton has built a reputation as the "go-to" Autism Centre in Edmonton that connects families, individuals and professionals with autism-related resources and programs.

Their great services and experienced staff are very knowledgeable and communicate updated information via their newsletter, which can be accessed on their website.

There are myths and false information about autism. You can find a number of them debunked by Nevada’s Autism Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP) here like this one:

Myth: All individuals with autism have mental disabilities. a. Truth: Individuals on the autism spectrum are unique, with a wide range of intellectual abilities. Individuals with autism can be harder to test so IQ and abilities can be under or over-estimated unless testing is done by an expert in IDD and autism. Tests designed to include language and interpersonal analyses may misrepresent the intelligence of people with autism, who struggle with social skills. Many individuals on the autism spectrum have earned college and graduate degrees and work in a variety of professions. Conversely, it is sometimes mistakenly assumed that an individual with autism has a higher level of understanding than they do, based on their behavior, language skills, or high level of ability in a specific area.

The more we are aware, the more we can be supportive and help each other.

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