Looking through the links that hagarfreak33 sent me I thought I would pay a little more attention to this site. I don't know of many people that could say they have not seen or know of someone affected with Autism. But do you really know what it is?
Unlocking Autism is an organization that was founded primarily for the purpose of increasing awareness about the disorder.
So what is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disability that generally appears between 15 and 20 months of age. In most cases, the child is progressing normally, and then begins to regress losing speech, social skills and physical abilities. While there are varying degrees of severity, most children completely withdraw into a world of their own.
A frightening aspect of the disorder is that children cannot assess sensory input properly. Autistic children cannot perceive fear or dangerous situations, nor can they filter and ignore stimulus. This sensory overload would be equivalent to your being intensely aware of the feel and color of this paper, the sensation of each article of clothing you are wearing, every single sound coming from the street and inside the building around you, and the fluorescent lights and every object that reflects the light near you. If a child with autism could read this letter, they would have to endure all of this and more while trying to concentrate and comprehend this material. Normal functioning under this kind of sensory bombardment is nearly impossible.
Autistic children typically have a host of biomedical and neurological problems as well. Many suffer from chronic diarrhea because their intestines are so damaged that they cannot absorb vital nutrients, minerals and vitamins essential for optimal brain function. Liver and kidney functions are impaired causing their bodies to store up high levels of toxins found in the environment such as lead, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals. Their immune systems are compromised to the extent that they cannot fight off even the simplest of fungal, parasitic and bacterial infections.
Children do not outgrow autism. There is no cure. It is a lifelong disability with a normal life expectancy. It affects boys five times more than it affects girls, although girls are generally more severely affected. In the United States over one half million individuals live with autism, making it more prevalent than Down Syndrome, childhood diabetes, and childhood cancer combined.
For information please visit Unlocking Autism and raise your own awareness about this disorder.