As per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 in 54 children in the US received an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)diagnosis in 2020 alone. Yet, parents or relatives of neurotypical children may have limited awareness about Autism, especially if they have never had any exposure to individuals with ASD. Over the last decade, the combined efforts of Autism experts and forums has led to greater sensitization around Autism. However, even today, people who are unfamiliar with Autism may be unsure about what to think, say or do when they interact with a child or adult with ASD.
At AB Spectrum, we specialize in Autism diagnosis and early interventions through our Autism treatment centers at multiple locations in Missouri. Using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, the gold-standard in Autism treatment therapies, our qualified and experienced team aims to improve the function and independence of children with ASD. We believe that in addition to ABA practitioners and Autism research organizations, the parents of children with ASD can play an important role in promoting Autism awareness, understanding, and acceptance. Our expert ABA therapists offer some insights on the subject.
If you have a child with ASD, you may often come across an ‘Autism awareness’ issue among people around you. While some may exhibit fear or ignorance about this neurological disorder, others may try to imply that it is a shameful thing. From friends and relatives, to teachers and parents of your child’s classmates, you may face challenges from various individuals and groups. In such situations, it is important to educate people about the key aspects of ASD and Autism treatments that help your child with ASD thrive.
Why should you make the effort?
Because increasing awareness can lead to better understanding: Decades ago, people may have gossiped, whispered, or stared at a child with ASD displaying awkward communication or social skills. Today, more and more people have started realizing that while Autism may not be in their home, it is in their community.
Because increasing understanding can evoke greater empathy and support: While the common symptoms of Autism include restricted or repetitive behaviors and social communication challenges, ASD may look very different for every individual. It could be an inability to use proper gestures or tone of voice, make eye contact, process facial or literal expressions. It may also appear asunder or over sensitivity to smell, touch, taste, light, or other such stimuli. Often, what may look like “throwing a fit” or “acting out” is simply the child’s way of dealing with a sensory overload. This is where empathy is incredibly important. Children with ASD often become easy targets for school bullies. Studies indicate that up to 63% of American children with Autism have experienced bullying at some point. Hence, increasing awareness is not just about improving empathy, but also about educating people on the basics of Autism, and in turn, increasing the love and support from the community for individuals with ASD.
Because greater empathy can lead to increased acceptance: Every parent of a child with ASD worries about what will happen to the child if they themselves become incapacitated or are no longer around. No matter how old your child with ASD, you want them to receive the same support and acceptance from the rest of the world, as they get from the immediate family, therapists, and caregivers. While adults often tend to separate themselves into groups and packs due to a variety of reasons and unconscious biases, educating a younger audience about Autism can produce great results. When you teach neurotypical children about Autism awareness, acceptance, and appreciation, they fearlessly lead the way in embracing, respecting, and supporting children with ASD. Improving awareness and empathy is about creating greater acceptance of children or adults with Autism. It is about ensuring that neurotypical individuals do not tiptoe around the topic of Autism.
Say no to fear, shame, ignorance, judgement, or misunderstandings. Instead, pick up the mantle of spreading Autism awareness and educate your friends, co-workers, and extended families about ASD. Give them a clearer picture of what life looks like for children with ASD, as well as their parents, siblings, and the caregivers. Do your bit in giving life to the endless dreams and possibilities for individuals with ASD:
Share personal stories of everyday interactions of your child with ASD to help people realize that Autism does not spell doom.
Reach out to friends and extended family to help them understand the unique and wonderful traits of children with ASD.
Reiterate the fact that children with ASD can chase their passions and interests just as fervently (sometimes even more)as neurotypical individuals do.
If you or someone you know is looking for Autism treatment options near you, explore one of the AB Spectrum clinics in the St. Louis area of Missouri. We offer ABA therapy through clinic-based sessions at St. Charles and Chesterfield, Missouri, along with in-home sessions and combination plans for treating children with ASD.
Our team of qualified Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) create tailor-made ABA therapy sessions that cater to your child’s unique needs. We use the Reggio Emilia ABA therapy approach that follows the Natural Environment Training (NET) philosophy, and employ positive reinforcement techniques as part of our Autism treatment therapies.
Our goal is to bring about sustainable changes that enhance the quality of life for children with ASD as well as their families by:
Reducing challenging behaviors
Increasing frequency and consistency of desirable behaviors
Building and improving motor skills, social skills, communication skills, basic self-care abilities and other important life skills.
For more information about our Autism treatment centers, plans, or approach, speak to our ABA therapy experts at 314-339-7732. You can also schedule a free initial consultation at one of our Autism treatment clinics near you.