April is National Autism Awareness Month and an appropriate time to learn more about this disability that affects so many families.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others to varying degrees. Typically, it appears in the first three years of a child’s life. Autism affects thousands of families across North Carolina.
Autism Awareness Month offers an excellent opportunity to draw more attention to the tens of thousands of families facing a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder each year and to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals on the spectrum. The term spectrum is important to understand. It refers to the wide range of symptoms and disorders that people with autism may have.
The incidence of autism in North Carolina is higher than the national rate, with 1 in 58 people born with the disorder compared to 1 of 68 children nationally, according to the Autism Society of North Carolina.
Children do not outgrow autism, but it is treatable. If adults have an awareness of autism and a child receives an early diagnosis and intervention, it improves the chances that the child will grow up to live a productive and independent life, the Autism Society says.
Possible Early Indicators of Autism
Children develop at different rates and not every child reaches developmental milestones at the same time. Symptoms of autism typically appear in early childhood.
Here are some red flags to look for as a child grows and develops that, if present, should prompt further examination.
- Delay in learning to talk
- Repetition of words, phrases or sounds
- Lack of gazing directly into others’ eyes or making eye contact
- Repetitive use of language
- Repetitive motor mannerisms such as flapping hands, finger twisting, rocking, swaying or pacing
- Lack of imaginary or make-believe play appropriate to a child’s age
- Over-sensitivity to common sounds, sights, tastes or smells
- Difficulty handling change in routines or activities
- Limited range of interests
- Obsessive interest in specific objects or actions
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine developmental screening of children from birth through school age to identify those who are at risk of autism or other developmental issues.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor.
Law Firm Promotes Increased Understanding of Autism
Hardison & Cochran is committed to increasing awareness and understanding of autism.
Over the last three college football seasons, Hardison & Cochran, a socially responsible law firm, has built a partnership with the Autism Society of North Carolina and Carolina Football to increase awareness of the services availafble to people with autism.
After Hardison & Cochran made the decision to become a sponsor of Carolina Athletics, the leaders of the law firm decided they wanted the sponsorship to publicize more than just their legal services.
Hardison & Cochran invited the Autism Society of North Carolina to utilize the in-game advertising spots available through the sponsorship to raise awareness of the Autism Society and the programs and services it offers. The Autism Society of N.C. improves the lives of people with autism and provides support to families.
For the past three football seasons, Carolina Football has included a designated Autism Awareness Game at which members of the Autism Society provide information about autism and services available to people attending the football game.
The attorneys at Hardison & Cochran recognize the importance of taking a team approach to solving problems. Partnering with the Autism Society of North Carolina and raising awareness of autism are part of our commitment to making our community and state better places for all North Carolinians.