Childhood autism, providing openness to Diversity.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that mainly affects three areas: communication (both verbal and non-verbal), social interaction , and restricted interests or repetitive behaviors. 1 in 150 children in the world suffers from it, and it is more common in boys than in girls, with a ratio of 4 to 1, that is, of every 5 infants with autism, 4 are boys and only 1 is a girl. It is also a lifelong disorder, that is to say, although we perform early intervention, it is not a curable disorder, although extremely significant advances can be made. Usually, when we hear the word “Autism”, we give it a negative connotation and establish judgments that are based on ignorance. When they talk to us about a person with autism, we immediately imagine people with cognitive commitments, strange, focused on themselves and with little capacity to adapt to their environment. This, although on certain occasions it may be true, in most cases it cannot be further from reality.

Are there several types of autism?

In the first place, we must understand that autism has several levels, according to the DSM IV (Manual of psychiatric disorders) it was classified as Mild, Moderate and Severe Autism , and also within the spectrum, disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome were included, which are It seems like a lot but it also has its own characteristics, Rett Syndrome , Semantic-Pragmatic Language disorder, etc. Currently, the new version of said manual, DSM V, groups most of these disorders into a single group and removes others for a new classification, leaving then the Autism Spectrum Disorders grouped into levels I, II and III; being those of level I what would be equivalent to a Mild Autism or a high level of functioning. A person or child with autism with a high level of functioning has a very good prognosis if they are given early attention and we have the collaboration of the child’s environment , since they usually have a high IQ, which compensates for the deficiency of many of their abilities. These types of children, with adequate therapeutic care, can easily and quickly integrate into a regular environment. However, all these guys, whether they are high-functioning or not, have the right to be integrated, and it is our duty to do so.

How does childhood autism manifest?

Some of the manifestations of autism can be: hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to physical contact or sounds, restricted interests (they are very interested in a specific topic, or specific characteristics of a toy or object), repetitive or stereotyped behaviors (flapping, rocking, tics), difficulty in social interaction or rare social interaction, prosody (they speak with an accent different from their natural one, for example, they are Spanish and speak like Mexican), excessively structured game , difficulty adapting to changes, among others. Although some children may have some degree of mental retardation, it is more common for these children to have an average, high average, or higher IQ.

Now, if I am not a psychologist or neuro-pediatrician, if I do not have a child or relative with autism, if I myself do not suffer from the disorder, what is the use of knowing all this information? Well, it serves us and it concerns us all, since it is our duty to provide openness to diversity . We must bear in mind that we are ALL key pieces in this process, because in one way or another we know someone with autism, whether close or not; and, understanding the disorder is helping those who suffer from it, because from knowledge and information great things can be achieved, knowledge awakens openness, on the contrary, ignorance reinforces labels, abuse and criticism, and finally , if I know, understand, accept, contribute and tolerate what is different around me. We are ALL different and our brains are too, understanding that is DIVERSITY.

autismo infantil

It is also necessary to remember that having Autism or any disorder is neither bad nor good, it is simply a different way of perceiving the world, of communicating, of relating, and of processing the education and information imparted. It’s just having a different brain. To open up diversity, is to understand that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders challenge generalization , because we can find from the lightest blue to the darkest blue, from the mildest autism to the most, from having high cognitive abilities to having them compromised, from avoiding integrating to doing it according to their interests. Children with autism have only one point in common, and it is the need of their parents and relatives, and their own need, to be understood, to be integrated and finally valued for what they are, PEOPLE beyond a diagnosis, in a society where we all have the right to fit in, with our similarities and especially our differences, since they are what make each one of us genuine and real human beings.

Providing openness to diversity is to investigate, know and understand the cause of the behavior of these children , but always allowing us to see beyond the diagnosis of Autism, because a diagnosis, whatever it may be, is not defining of their abilities and their essence. It is to give them a place and a space in this world, it is to make them more tolerant of differences, it is to support their development from our possibilities, highlighting their potential and making them shine with their own light.

We do not have to be psychologists or specialists in the area to work for integration, all of us, from our frame of reference, our disposition and the information we have, we can become key pieces of this process and contribute our bit to be able to live with these people, and make the world a more pleasant place, more tolerant, more understanding, and with greater capacity to adapt to the needs that these people may present.

For more information we give you the link of the Autism international confederation Autism speaks

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