April is Autism Awareness month, and what better way to become aware than to learn something new at the same time? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder which affects the way that a person communicates or interacts with others. ASD also affects how someone learns and behaves. While autism is commonly acknowledged, the spectrum and how to help those with autism is ever-evolving in the age of modern technology. So how can travel therapists raise autism awareness, especially if it is already commonly talked about?
How can travel therapists raise autism awareness?
Know what it is!
So autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder. But what exactly does that mean? First and foremost, it is important to note that autism is not curable along with most other disorders. It is a lifelong disorder and isn’t curable. However, there are plenty of therapy and support options out there that can greatly enhance the quality of life of those with ASD. It is important to note that there are a lot of factors that can contribute to someone being on the spectrum. The most important of these factors is genetics. Genetics do not dictate whether someone is on the spectrum, they simply just play a factor in the likelihood of developing ASD. One thing that has no correlation to the risk of autism spectrum disorder is vaccines. It has been a myth for many, years that vaccines were the cause of whether a child developed autism or not. However, this is untrue- all scientific research states numerous other factors, not vaccines.
Something else worth noting is that autism is a spectrum disorder. A spectrum disorder is a term that means that people can experience a wide array of symptoms and levels of severities within the same disorder classification. There are a lot of signs and indicators that someone might be on the autism spectrum. One of the most common indicators is experiencing difficulty with communication. More often than not, people with ASD will have trouble communicating “normally.” Often they are unable to pick up on social cues which can create difficulty connecting socially or emotionally.
Differentiate between children and adults
How can travel therapists raise autism awareness? By learning how best to handle your patients with an autism spectrum disorder. Just like any other patient you might have, the last thing you want to do is treat an adult like a child or vice versa. There are also a lot of differences between the behavior in adults with an autism spectrum disorder and children. For example, there is significantly less brain activity during social interactions in children than in adults. Autism is not something that goes away with age, however, most adults with ASD receive some sort of support or therapy to help with development.
Advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves
Along with autism spectrum disorder sometimes comes the complete inability to speak. Sometimes by choice, other times not, people affected by ASD may not speak or have difficulty with speech in general. This means that during a check-up or examination, they can’t speak to tell you something is wrong. This is when looking for physical signs of illness or distress is extremely important. Often the parents will not be able to understand the problem either. Keeping them in the loop not only gives parents peace of mind but also gives the child a better quality of life. Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking when you can’t physically hear someone tell you what is wrong. However, that is exactly the answer to how can travel therapists raise autism awareness. Do the best job you can do as a doctor while being mindful of the signs of autism.
If you or a patient have someone that you think might be affected by autism spectrum disorder, please feel free to share these resources:
Have you had patients with autism spectrum disorder? How can travel therapists raise autism awareness in your opinion? Please feel free to share with us in the comments below.