Spotlight on National Autism Awareness Month

National Autism Awareness Month strives to promote autism awareness and assure that each person affected by autism is able to achieve their highest possible quality of life. If you’re interested in increasing acceptance and appreciation for families affected by autism, there are many different health care careers that you could consider, from pediatric nurse to child psychiatrist.

Autism presents in many different ways and has many different levels of severity. It’s a bio-neurological developmental disability, and generally it starts presenting before the age of three. While there is no cure, early intervention and treatment as well as the diverse symptoms, make treatment and quality of life different for each person affected.

Here are some quick facts about autism from the National Autism Association:

  • Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls.
  • About 40% of children who have autism do not speak.
  • The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last 20 years.
  • Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet also the most underfunded.
  • Children with autism do progress, but early intervention is key.

How Can You Help?

Medical professionals and health care providers need to be familiar with the signs of autism, particularly when treating young children. Pediatric nurses, public health nurses and neurologists may be among the first to recognize symptoms. Speech-language pathologists, physical therapists and child psychiatrists will play an active role in a child’s life if they are on the autistic spectrum.

Working with families who are affected by autism is a challenging and rewarding job. All members of the family are involved with the diagnosis, from parents to caregivers to siblings. If you’re a compassionate and patient person, you have two of the key qualities needed to help families affected by autism.

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