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  • Writer's pictureTravisha Howard

What is Autism?

Updated: May 9

The CDC defines Autism Spectrum Disorder as, a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Studies show that people with ASD often have problems with social communication and interaction. Studies also show that people with ASD display restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. Autistics may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.

There are 3 levels of Autism. Levels to Autism have only been distinguished for the purpose of providing appropriate care to Autistics.

Level One:

  • deficits in social communication

  • may appear less interested in social interactions.

  • unable to respond to others.

  • restricted interests

  • repetitive behaviors

  • resists others attempt to divert attention from fixations.

  • may require minimal support.

  • typically, able to verbally communicate.

Level Two:

  • social impairments are visible.

  • Reduced or abnormal response to social overtures

  • restricted interests and repetitive behaviors (also known as RRBs

  • obvious distress/frustration when RRBs are disrupted.

  • Nonverbal communication

  • may require substantial support.

  • difficulty holding a conversation.

  • obvious distress/frustration when having to cope with changes in environment.

Level Three:

  • Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication

  • Severe functional impairments

  • Restricted interests

  • Repetitive behaviors

  • Distress/frustration when routines are disrupted.

  • Require substantial support.

  • Avoiding interactions with others.

  • Highly inflexible.

  • Becomes highly distressed in situations where they are required to change focus or tasks.

According to the CDC's most recent data, 2020, 1 in 36 children in the United States are Autistic. Autism Spectrum Disorder occurs in all races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. There are a few factors that contribute to Autism Spectrum Disorder such as genetics and environmental. Studies show that some genetic mutations materialize spontaneously while other seem to be inherited. Research is still being conducted to determine whether or not complications during pregnancy, medications, viral infections, vaccines or atmospheric pollution are contributing factors to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If you or someone you know is Autistic, please take the time to educate yourselves on the diagnosis. Also, remember, NO ONE ON THE SPECTRUM IS THE SAME. Please be intentional in getting to know each individual. It would be a great relief for them not to have to constantly mask themselves in order to acclimate to society. Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a lack of intellect, it is difference in learning and communication. Be kind. Be gracious. Be considerate. Continue to bloom.


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