1. What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a range of developmental disorders that are related to brain development and its impacts on how a person perceives and socializes with others, their communication skills, and the patterns of thought and physical behavior. The specific term “spectrum” is used because the symptoms and their severity vary from one individual to another. Individuals with autism have persistent deficits in social communication and interactions, deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.
Today’s article explores the most important facts everyone ought to know about autism, along with statements made by Big Hass. Hass Dennaoui, (aka Big Hass) is the Radio Host of Saudi’s 1st FM Hip-Hop Radio Show, as well as the founder of Re-Volt Blog & Re-Volt Magazine.
2. Autism is not a disease or a disability.
Autism is not a disease, autistic kids are not “victims” that need to be cured. They are kids with a different neurological makeup that need your support. They are kids that will show you the world from a different point of view. And are a source of happiness and learning.
3. Every individual with autism is unique. Don’t generalize your experiences.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, making it very unique from one person to another, there isn’t “one way” autism could come off because the clinical symptoms, needs, and signs are extremely diverse. A child could have severe visual signs of autism such as repetitive flapping, making repetitive noises, and standing out to everyone as a child with autism. On the other hand, a child could be very bright, verbal, and well behaved.
4. Children with autism aren’t poorly behaved, they process things differently.
If you see a child screaming, making noises, or spinning, don’t be so quick to judge. They do not lack discipline and their parents aren’t subjecting them to such behavior. Children with autism process sensory signals differently. Their senses provide unreliable signals, leading them to feel extreme anxiety and discomfort at times. More than 90% of children with autism are extremely sensitive to light, touch, smell and sound. Children with autism could have extreme reactions when you physically touch them, meaning that you should always verbally ask them before simply giving them a reassuring tap on the shoulder or an affectionate hug.
They are not ill-behaved; you just don’t understand the way they process things. And as Big Hass says, “Spread the word, get educated, and do not judge people, we don’t know what they are going through.
5. Autism is not caused by bad parenting.
Throughout history, autism was believed to be the result of inadequate parenting and was widely assumed to be correct. Mothers were labeled “refrigerator mothers” because it was assumed that the lack of nurturing was the cause of this disorder and that caused many mothers of children with autism to suffer from guilt, hatred, and blame. However, of course, that has now been debunked as no amount of non-ideal parenting can cause autism.
Autism has no single known cause; nonetheless, it is generally acknowledged that it is caused by several things. It is mainly caused by the abnormalities in the brain function or structure, in which brain scans showed differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism with comparison to neurotypical children. Scientists agree that genetics is responsible for up to 90% of the autism risk. Specialists in the 21st century still aren’t able to figure out the cause of Autism, but they believe that genes play a huge role in whether a child is born with it.
6. Behavior is communication.
When it comes to children with autism, behavior is communication, especially because around ⅓ of them are non-verbal. Just because these children aren’t verbally telling you what they need or feel, doesn’t mean they aren’t giving you answers to your questions. Children with autism are well aware of what you are saying and are usually replying with specific behaviors. For example, a child might not be able to verbally tell their parents how much he loves them, however, he will say it through kisses, hugs, and other small affectionate gestures.
7. Can autism be cured?
As mentioned, autism is a complex disorder without a single known cause or “trigger,” meaning that although genes play a very large factor and the way the brain develops could be different, autism is one of the few disorders that cannot be cured. However, several treatments and therapies have been developed and studied for use with young children and adolescents. These treatments may reduce symptoms, improve cognitive ability and daily living skills, as well as maximize the ability of the child to function and participate in the community. Children with autism can become extremely functional and be able to learn the necessary social skills through intervention and appropriate therapies.
8. How Does the Future Look for children with autism?
The future for autism looks much brighter than it did one decade ago. With the drive towards autism awareness, along with highly devoted parents and early diagnosis, children with autism are now able to do more things than they could. Early intervention and therapies, allow families to connect and support their children and raise them to become individuals that go to college, hold down jobs, and do whatever they dream of.
And in the MENA Region..
That may not truly be the case at all times here. Although we have come a long way and countless organizations have started raising awareness, Big Hass mentions that he knows institutions that still use the “r” word to describe children with autism to this day. Moreover, he believes that if we stay the way we are now, in all honesty, he doubts it will look good. There must be more workshops happening in a community manner, involving parents of autism, autistic children, and the societies around them, not just those that happen in a merely medical manner.
This topic is very dear to him and he is already doing his part in trying to spread awareness, whether on TV, radio or at any public event.
9. How can we get rid of the stigma around autism?
Big Hass says the most efficient way to get rid of the stigma is by, “Accepting it the way it is and also giving it more awareness. The more people know about Autism, the better they will be “accepting it”. I do think, however, that the west has a bigger understanding and a better “normality” towards the word “autism” and this is why I always urge our Arab Media to STOP calling it “disease”, as it messes up the whole understanding of Autism in Arabia. Moreover, I do believe one of the most effective ways is to keep talking about it and for Autism parents to NEVER shy away from autistic children. Keep fighting. Autism is not a disease it’s a way of life and a way of understanding.”
Having a son with autism has changed Big Hass’s life immensely. He says Ahmad has taught him countless lessons, such as the importance of patience and the beauty of seeing others grow. His son Ahmad has added an incredible light in his life and he is beyond proud of him!
Autism is not a disability, it is a different ability and a one of a kind disorder that allows us to see the complexity of humans and the differences amongst them. It is NOT a disease.
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