Both autism spectrum disorder and autism are general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
It is believed that autism appears to have its basis in very early brain development. The most obvious signs of autism are more likely to emerge between the ages of 2 and 3 years.
The goal is to find effective methods for earlier diagnosis for children with autism. Increasing awareness for the general public will help in appropriate actions and reactions to children with autism and will be invaluable.
CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
- I am not autistic.
- I am one of many children with autism.
- My autism does not define me as a person.
- My sensory perceptions are disordered. That means that things that don’t bother you might be painful for me.
- Receptive and expressive languages are difficult for me. It is easier for me to understand specific instructions made to me with an explanation of what I can expect to happen next.
- Children with autism think in a concrete manner. Please don’t use expressions like, “It’s a piece of cake.” Those idioms or puns make no sense to me.
- It helps me if you show me how to do things instead of just telling me to do them.
- Be patient with my vocabulary. Watch for things I do to show fear or worry because I can’t explain these things to you.
- Focus on the things I can do instead of on those things that I can’t do.
- Help me with my social interactions. I may want to be included even though I can’t express that.
- Please try to figure out what causes my meltdowns because children with autism can’t put the pieces together.
- Please accept me as I am. I am worth it.
Do you have any children with autism in your life? We would love to hear from you.
The news is about Alexis Wineman, who was crowned Miss Montana. She was the first Miss America Contestant who had been diagnosed with Autism in the pageants 92 years.
Anyone who has listened to Alexis’s comments during her interviews heard her courage and desire to accomplish the same things that people without Autism can accomplish. She has been quoted as saying, “I have overcome a lot. I have overcome so many of my symptoms.”
Alexis was diagnosed with Autism when she was 11 years old. She shared the fact that she was bullied because she has a speech impediment and is so shy. “I would stay in my room for hours, not wanting to talk to anyone. Growing up, I barely hung out with anyone and that’s because I was afraid of being laughed at.”
One of the things that Alexis has shared is much the same as what other successful people with disabilities have said. Her family never gave her an easy way out because of her disability. Quite the contrary, they made her do things that brought her out of her comfort zone. She was a cheerleader and ran cross country. She even became the captain of her cheerleading squad during her senior year of high school.
She has shared the fact that she entered the Miss Montana pageant on an impulse. What is so much to her credit and her family’s credit, she went into the pageant to win! Alexis Wineman plans to attend the University of Montana after her reign to study for a degree in art therapy.
Her talent for the Miss America Pageant was comedy. She said, “I realized if I laugh at myself, then that’s OK.”
Alexis Wineman did not win the Miss America Pageant but she was voted the people’s choice winner. What an amazing young woman. What an amazing family. What an amazing story!
You go Alexis. You are our newest hero!