In support of Autism Awareness Month BHS is raising awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). During the month of April, our goal is to increase the awareness and knowledge of Autism, and impart information about the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. According to WHO, about one in 270 people in the world have ASD. ASD affects people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from others, but they may communicate, interact, behave and learn in ways that may be uncommon from other people.
Diagnosing – ASD can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnosis the disorder. ASD can sometimes be detected at age 18 months or younger. By age two, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered reliable. A child should be evaluated for ASD if the child does not:
- Babble or coo by 12 months of age
- Point wave or grasp by 12 months of age
- Say single words by 16 months of age
- Say two-word phrases on their own by 24 months of age
ASD does not have a window of diagnosing and someone at any age can be diagnosed. Every individual’s experience with Autism is different, challenges most often identified at with ASD include varying degrees of:
- Sensitivity to sounds, textures and pain
- Intense interest in a narrow range of topics
- Rigid attachment to routines, patterns or behaviors
- Difficulty communicating and interacting with others
Treatment and Resources – There is currently no cure for ASD. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development. Early intervention services help children from birth to three years old (36 months) learn important skills. Explore the following resources for more information:
- Autism Speaks: www.Autismspeaks.org
- The Autism Helper: www.theAutismhelper.com
- The Autism Community in Action (TACA): www.tacanow.org
Your Employee Assistance Program provides free and confidential assessment and counseling services. If you are interested in learning more about your benefits, call BHS at 800-245-1150 to speak to your dedicated Care Coordinator.