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Important Things to Remember about Autism

Aug 17, 2007
The long term care for an individual with autism varies from one individual to the next. Some individuals will need intensive, lifelong supervision. Others will go on to attend college or live independently. There is a great range of possibilities in between. Families generally start planning the long term care goals when the child reaches adolescence and tweaking the plan throughout the teenage years. Many government funded programs, like group homes and creative housing, have wait lists that are many years long.

A cure for autism is the hope of many parents, families, and researchers. However, not everyone wants a cure. Made up mainly of individuals with high functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome, there is an anti-cure movement. The beliefs of this group are that if a cure is found, many, if not all, individuals with autism will be forced to get the cure, and they will then lose valuable aspects of their individuality and personality.

Interacting with individuals with autism can be confusing or frustrating at times due to the lack of language and social skills. To effectively communicate and interact with individuals with autism, you need to get to know that individual specifically. The interests and tolerance issues vary greatly among individuals with autism. To learn about the likes and dislikes of a particular person, you'll need to observe their behavior. After that you can slowly get involved in activities and hobbies they enjoy.

Also remember to keep in mind sensory issues. Sometimes tantrums or negative behaviors can be triggered by sensory stimuli. If smells, sounds, or touches are uncomfortable to an individual it can cause them to react in seemingly strange ways. Try to eliminate excess noise; strong smelling perfumes, colognes, or foods; abrasive tactile inputs, such as tags, scratchy clothes, etc.; and other things that may distract or upset the person.

Understanding the causes of behaviors can lead to effective plans to reduce them. Aside from sensory issues, be on the look out for ritualized behavior or self-stimulatory behaviors. Redirecting the individual from that kind of behaviors to more rewarding activities, such as a favorite movie or game, can help curb their interest in the inappropriate activity. Observing the antecedent, or cause, of a behavior can give you ideas on how to effective reduce the behavior. It can also help you understand the individual's otherwise confusing behaviors.

Currently there are many research projects looking into various aspects of autism. Government agencies, private researchers, and academic researchers are all looking into the cause of autism, the increase in cases, genetic aspects, biomedical aspects, behavior therapies, a cure, and many other issues.

Lots of new information is being found out with research, but there are still many unanswered questions. The next few years will certainly bring about more interesting discoveries about autism. With that said, there are still many unknowns and uncertainties for individuals with autism and their families. Proper planning for housing, finances, jobs, higher education, and estates is still a necessary undertaking, albeit a complicated one. With the variances among individuals with autism, every family has its own unique challenges and obstacles.
About the Author
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