World Autism Awareness Day is worldwide recognized on April 2 to bring better awareness about the disability to people. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that results in problems in social and language communication. According to the World Health Organization, one in 10 people suffers from the disability across the globe. World Autism Day is also one of only four official health-specific UN Days. The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall acceptance for those with this neurological variance. In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, the world will turn blue. The campaign ‘Light it Up Blue’ is organized by the autism community that aims to support understanding and acceptance for those with autism. Supporters are encouraged to wear blue clothing and post to social media using the hashtag #LightItUpBlue to raise awareness. Last year, many landmarks such as Niagara Falls, the United Nations, the Empire State Building, the White House and Qutab Minar turned blue in support of the cause.

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a developmental disorder because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association used to diagnose mental disorders, people with ASD have difficulty with communication and interaction with other people, restricted interests and repetitive behaviors and symptoms that hurt the person’s ability to function properly in school & work.

Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial, and economic groups. Although ASD can be a lifelong disorder, treatments and services can improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function.

Signs and Symptoms of ASD

Some children show signs of autism spectrum disorder in early infancy, such as reduced eye contact, lack of response to their name or indifference to caregivers. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life, but then suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive or lose language skills they’ve already acquired. Signs usually are seen by age 2 years. Some children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty learning and some have signs of lower than normal intelligence.

Diagnosing ASD

Doctors diagnose ASD by looking at a person’s behavior and development. ASD can usually be reliably diagnosed by the age of two. It is important for those with concerns to seek out an assessment as soon as possible so that a diagnosis can be made, and treatment can begin.

Treatment and Therapies

Treatment for ASD should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis. The wide range of issues facing people with ASD means that there is no single best treatment for ASD. Working closely with a doctor or health care professional is an important part of finding the right treatment program.

-Medication

-Behavioral, psychological, and educational therapy

-There are many social services programs and other resources that can help people with ASD