Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Autism Awareness

Angel Kontra, Editor

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There is a universal saying that everyone has heard: “ignorance is bliss.” But is it really? If there is one thing that people are repetitively ignorant about, it is autism.

Google defines autism as, “(noun) a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.”

The symptoms can fall under four categories- behavioral, developmental, cognitive, and/ or psychological- and can range from repetition of words/ actions to speech delays to being unaware of the emotions of others.

According to Autism Speaks, autism can be caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influence. The “spectrum” reflects the wide variations in challenges and strengths in an autistic person.

The Helping Guide website describes different terms to describe this “spectrum,” some of which are high-functioning autism, atypical autism, autism spectrum disorder, and passive developmental disorder.

There is no ‘cure’ for autism, and it does not affect every individual the same way. It is also more common than some may think. The Autism Society website reports more than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1 in 68 children will be born with autism.

Overall, being ignorant to the differences in others is not okay. Wider understanding and acceptance of autistic individuals is crucial to making society a better, happier place. Autism does not make someone less of a person, it just makes them more unique from the rest.

To celebrate embracing what makes others unique this April, Calvert High will be participating in various school functions including Spread the Word to End the Word, the blue out lacrosse game, and Special Olympics. Come out and show your support!

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