Autism Awareness

Autism is one of those things that wasn’t common knowledge in the past. Still, it is becoming more recognized, and Autism Awareness Month has become more widely known in the past few years. But just because it has gotten more recognition doesn’t mean that shared knowledge about the disability is correct or the whole truth. For example, people may quickly assume that autistic people look physically different than an allistic (non-autistic) person or that everyone with autism automatically can’t function without aid, which is invalid.  


Autism Spectrum Disorder (Autism or ASD) is a developmental disorder usually recognized in an individual by age 22 and lasts a lifetime with no cure. ASD also falls under the category neurodivergent, which means a disability that has the brain develop or work differently than a neurotypical (non-neurodivergent). And like many other neurodivergent disorders, autism is a spectrum disorder that can be different for everyone with it. ASD can affect how someone learns, communicates, interacts with others, and behaves. How strongly each category affects an autistic individual can vary from each person because, as stated before, autism is a spectrum, so everyone with the disability will have different experiences. 

People have noticed that autism diagnosis rates have risen drastically within the past two decades. Some people think the cause of this is that autism can be caused by vaccines, which are both extraordinarily ableist and just straight-up stupid. Using common sense would be safe to assume that there have been more and more resources for people to be diagnosed. Autism can be, but not always, genetic, and any other contributors that aren’t genetic or that the child was born developmentally disabled. Another contributor to the rising diagnoses can also be misdiagnosis since many symptoms of autism are also associated with ADHD and mild intellectual disability. Just because does not mean that someone with these disabilities can’t also be autistic, but some people are one and not the other. 

ASD can be detected by doctors as early as two years of age, which may seem outrageous, but true. In some cases, autism isn’t recognized in a person until pre-teen or teenage years, or even later, because of something called masking. Masking is a term used by people with autism and ADHD when they force themselves to act a certain way due to being judged by others or being told not to work the way they do naturally. Masking can be an extremely draining activity for a neurodivergent, with the only benefit being to please the people around them. Once masking is recognized, it would be best for the person’s mental health to try to unmask. Though it might take time, masking is a bad habit that would help a person thrive if broken. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder is something that one article is not enough. I didn’t get to bring up half the information I wanted to discuss. So before the end of April, I will post another article on the topic.