April is World Autism Awareness Month

World Autism Awareness Month is a time to support the families and individuals who have a diagnosis of autism. The first step is becoming more informed about autism and then acting to help these families feel accepted and a part of the community.

April 2 is the fourth annual autism awareness day and every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. Throughout this month the organizations that work with children with autism are hosting various events.

Autism spectrum disorder is the term used to describe a disorder of brain development characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age.

Earlier diagnosis and early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can dramatically improve outcomes for children. By increasing autism awareness we can play an invaluable role in altering the life of a child for good.

Autism affects as many as one in every 110 children in the U.S. Recent studies suggest boys are more susceptible than girls to developing autism. In the states alone, one out of 70 boys are suspected of a form of autism, with perhaps more going undiagnosed to this day. 

Families of children with autism are shown to experience high levels of stress. This is compounded by the stress of being military family due to frequent moves or deployment. Active-duty families that have a child with autism are eligible for specific autism behavior support via the ECHO program and are eligible for respite care as well. Community involvement in addition to early intervention, Child Find and your primary physicians can assist with advocating for children with autism.
The more we support these families the better the chance of long term improvement and minimizing the difficulties that come with having autism. 

If you or someone you know has a child with autism or have questions, contact the Ramstein Pediatric Developmental Clinic at 479-2273 or 06371-46-2273.
(Courtesy of the 86th Medical Group)