What is Autism?


Autism Spectrum Disorder is considered one of the most complex neurological disorders that affect one’s ability to communicate and interact with people and their environments. This disorder can impact how people understand what they see, hear and otherwise sense. According to the DSM –V the previous threeDomains have become two:

Social/Communication deficits

  • Fixated interests and repetitive behaviors
  • This can result in difficulties with social relationships, communication and behaviour.

According to the Centre of Disease Control, autism prevalence is on the rise with recent figures being 1 in 88. According to the latest news release, the rate of increase in Canada and the United States is considered to be 1 in 69.

The population of persons on the South Shore is growing in accordance with the current prevalence figures of 1 in 88. Families and educators and community partners need resources and a great deal of interagency support. We must work together in our effort to provide the best primary care possible to those individuals with autism across their lifespan, as well as their educators and care givers.

Autism affects not only the family of the child with autism, but all those who interact with the child, including teachers, teacher assistants, classmates, caregivers, health care providers, bus drivers, future co-workers, etc. The more we can support our students and their families the better the chance we will have for a positive outcome, not only for our students but for our entire community.

It can be difficult to imagine a life where the first human experience one feels upon wakening each morning is anxiety. Your first thoughts and emotions are filled with fear—how will my day begin? How will my day proceed? And finally, how will my day end? This fear is felt each and every day, throughout your lifetime. Facing the fear of the unknown can be paralyzing.

The anxiety of living with the unknown and the inability to manage it can lead into fight, flight or freeze behavior. All too often this is what people living with autism and their families experience on a daily basis.

From the moment of awakening, there are sensory impressions and external stimulation inflicted upon us from our outside environment—from the bright lights in our bedroom to traffic sounds through the windows. And this stimulation continues, and intensifies throughout the day as we travel to and from school. For people living with Autism, the experience we call daily living can be very confusing, resulting in the inability to cope and thrive in our ever changing world.

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