Autism Awareness Month, April 2022
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication.
Autism has many subtypes that are influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.
Sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues often accompany ASD.
Signs of autism usually appear by age two or three; however, some associated development delays can appear even earlier, as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism. In Gibraltar, children with a possible diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder are referred to a local Multi-Disciplinary Autism Assessment Panel (MAAP) who are able to advise and follow up.
Early screening and timely intervention can improve a child’s overall development and future outcomes.
World Autism Month is marked globally every April, with Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, to celebrate the resilience of those affected and promote awareness of the condition. If you are concerned about your child’s development at any stage, get in touch with your healthcare provider.
If you are affected by Autism you can find many helpful tips and tools online; see Autism.org.uk. You can also access local support and information, by contacting Autism Support Gibraltar via this link – https://www.facebook.com/groups/autismsupportgibraltar/
View video ‘Full of Potential’ HERE