Education

Light it up BLUE for Autism Awareness Month

What you didn't know about Autism, and how we can make a difference

Recently I started working at a development center as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) or better known as a behavioral therapist with kids who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was my first time working with kids so I was really nervous.

These kids have changed my life and I love what I do. I can say that I have found my purpose in life. These kids are so special and it’s hard to not get emotional talking about them.

Autism offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by.” – Dr. Colin Zimbleman, Ph.D.

Here are a few things you don’t know about Autism, provided by AutismSpeaks.org
  • These kids are so smart! About 46% of children diagnosed with autism actually have an average or above-average IQ.
  • Most of their challenges involve social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors but all can be worked on through ABA therapy.
  • The earlier the intervention, the better. High-quality early intervention for autism can do more than improve behaviors, it can improve brain function.
  • Behaviors is something we work on reducing. Ultimately, they are just like us and are motivated by the same things. Praise and finding something fun that motivates them is a big part of ABA therapy. I love seeing how excited they get over something so simple like M&Ms.
  • Though autism tends to be life long, some children with ASD make so much progress that they no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for autism.
  • Autism varies per individual, each child is so unique.

“It’s not how long the road is that matters- It’s about finding the power, the conviction, and the daring to reach deeply into your mind, heart, and spirit in pursuit of the secret world of a child lost behind the invisible veil of autism.” -Barry Neil Kaufman

Light it up blue for autism awareness month. Here’s a few ways you can help bring awareness to autism:
  • Learn about autism: Do your research about autism or get to know someone who has autism. The best way to spread awareness is to first be knowledgeable about what autism is all about.
  • Get involved: Participate in your local autism speaks walk in your city or volunteer at a fundraiser to raise awareness. Anything helps!
  • Social media: A great tool to reach lots of people even those you don’t engage with daily. Spreading awareness via social media can help bring people together and inform them about autism and how they can help too.
  • Promote Ability, Not Disability: most people believe the typical stereotypes about autism but aren’t fully aware of how capable they are. For instance, many of those who have autism can live relatively normal lives, some even have many strengths that other people don’t have.

“I believe that inside every person who is bullied there is a strength and a tenacity to survive. You don’t always know that this strength exists, but if you make it through those dark times, you become aware. You become a survivor, someone whose courage and spirit is far stronger than all of the hate and cruelty of their bullies. The one thing that I want to impart to children with autism is knowledge of their own inner strength, and the belief that one day at a time, they, too, can get through this.” -Amy Gravino

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Jackie is the author of