Not only is today, April 2 World Autism Awareness Day — the entire month of April is World Autism Month.
It might be noticeable that more folks than usual are wearing the color blue to mark the day and help bring awareness to the disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a broad range of conditions that affects a person's social skills and communication. The organization Autism Speaks says there are many subtypes of autism and each are "influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors."
Groups supporting people with autism have collaborated on public service campaigns to increase awareness. The ABC television network has a popular prime-time drama called "The Good Doctor" in which the main character is a surgeon with autism.
There is a lot of work being done to shed light on the disorder as well as raise funds for research on it.
The signs of autism
Parents and guardians may begin to notice signs of autism in children as young as 6 months old, but especially at ages 2 and 3 years old. Children who may have autism will probably have fewer big smiles or engaging expressions than children without it. They may also make little or no eye contact.
Autism Speaks says these are some of the signs for which to look:
• Sensory sensitivities
• Gastrointestinal disorders
• Seizures and sleep issues
• Attention issues
Early intervention is key to improving autism issues, especially communication and learning. People who need support to care for someone with autism have that available; here are some options on where to begin: