Let’s take this opportunity to honor and celebrate those who are on the spectrum. Autism is considered one of the most common developmental disabilities in the world, with an estimated prevalence of 1 in 66 children in Canada.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is “a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviours. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.”
Why is it important to foster awareness of autism?
As human beings, we tend not to embrace those who we do not understand. Increased public awareness and education will create tolerance, sensitivity, and kindness towards those who are on the spectrum.
People with autism may display strengths and abilities that are directly related to their diagnosis, such as:
- Having an excellent memory
- Learning to read at an early age
- Memorizing and learning information quickly
- Being very precise and detail oriented
- Very honest and reliable
- Strong adherence to rules
- A unique innocence and sense of wonder
To quote Jason, a remarkable 17-year old with autism who was featured on Autism Speaks, “My advice is don’t be ashamed of who you are. Never let anyone tell you no when it comes to you excelling and don’t quit.”
To learn about the full DSM-5 criteria for autism, please visit:
If you have concerns that you or your child may be on the spectrum, speak to your doctor about being assessed.