Concern for autism has grown significantly either as a result of a greater prevalence or as a result of growing awareness of its existence. According to United States Center for Disease control estimated 1 out of every 88 people have some form of autism. There is no conclusive evidence there has been a recent increase, though the general population has certainly become more aware of autism.
Definition of Autism
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects brain development. Usually social, communication and reasoning skills are compromised. These symptoms may remain hidden until a child is between 24 and 30 months. Males are diagnosed with autism more than females 4 to 1. Causes of Autism For a time some believed that autism was a psychological and not a neurological problem. Research since has shown that individuals with autism do have specific brain dysfunction. The exact cause is unclear but some have suggested a genetic component. This would suggest the number of cases of autism has not increased, but only our awareness of it. It should be noted there is no medically approved evidence that infant vaccination leads to autism.
Symptoms of Autism
There are a number of levels of autism. Some may be able to function independently as adults with autism, others may need care. Some symptoms include poor social interaction and communication, fixation on inanimate objects, lack of eye contact, tantrums, repetitive behavior and insensitivity to pain. Studies have indicated that children with autism may also show poor facial recognition and react more positively to electronic voices as opposed to human voices.
Activities for Children with Autism
The primary goal of activities for children with autism is to increase their independence. The skills taught should be meaningful to the child and the example given by the PDA Center is while things like signing one’s name, or washing one’s hands are useful but organizing objects by colors or shape is not as useful, the later activities are more useful for diagnosing a problem but does little to improve a child with autism in the majority of cases.
Benefits of Activities
Children Carefully planning activities for children with autism has been shown to have a positive impact and to increase independence in later life. It is important that activities are centered on increasing a child’s independence. There is evidence that the earlier in life an child begins activities developed specifically for those with autism, the better the results may be later in life.