April is Autism Awareness Month, and not a lot of people understand what autism is. Autism is defined as a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.
Around 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism by the age of three. With more studies focusing on autism and learning to detect the common symptoms, doctors are able to provide accurate diagnoses. Because there are no specific medical exams to utilize, doctors have to look for specific behavioral patterns in kids to detect them within the spectrum. There are many different spectrums that one can fall under in autism. While there is no set number in these spectrums, it identifies each person with their unique abilities. People misunderstand their social skills and assume they are mentally disabled, which cannot be further from the truth. In actuality, people with autism have unique qualities and typically exceed in visual skills, music, and or academics.
Statistics show Hispanic children are not being diagnosed as quickly as any other race. Every 1 in 93 Hispanic child is diagnosed compared to every 1 in 75 within the other races. This shows that there is a need in the Latino community to understand how to notice the symptoms of autism. It could also be a cultural misunderstanding on the symptoms, being that in our community, we tend to not take social skills as an illness. In the Hispanic culture, when a child doesn’t want to speak to others or not want to play with other children, we tend to say things like “he/she is being spoiled/chiflado(a)”. As a community, we need to help others understand that autism is an actual illness and needs to be treated that way. A lot of our Latino parents need to understand what those symptoms are. If their child is showing signs of autism, they shouldn’t think their child will grow out of it and they should get the appropriate treatments needed.
Most people with autism grow up to live on their own and become independent. With all the new programs being developed to help autistic children, these kids will more than likely learn to cope and understand their specific social interaction difficulties. As a Latino community, we need to bring more awareness of autism and its symptoms.
And what better way than to glorify the month of April since it is the National Month of Autism Awareness! Blue is the color to wear and represent someone you love with autism. For me, it’s a very special girl named AJ.
Dedicated to Team AJ! Light it up blue.
Martha Trujillo is a Staff Writer for Latino Giant. Born in 1979 in Laredo, Texas, Martha was born to a mother who was an immigrant from Mexico and a father who is a U.S. citizen. She was raised in a typical Mexican household and carries her roots with her every day. Martha holds an Associate’s Degree in Business and has worked in the medical field for about 17 years in the business office. Currently, she resides in Arizona and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts to purse her dream of opening a restaurant.