The rate of autism diagnosis has been increasing quickly these last several years, affecting more families than ever before. Currently, autism is found to be more prevalent than diabetes, AIDS and childhood cancer.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a brain disorder that affects a person’s development. Individuals with ASD typically behave, communicate and interact differently than most people. The problem-solving, thinking and learning skills of people with ASD can vary from critically challenged to gifted. The signs of ASD start at early childhood and generally last throughout the lifespan of the individual.
The Autism Resource Center in central Massachusetts works to provide autism services and support for children and families with autism. We recommend this charity If you would like to donate a car for autism.
April is Autism Awareness Month and here at Donate-a-Car.com we’d like to help spread awareness by talking about ways to empower individuals and families who are affected. While the challenges of having autism and/or having a child with autism can be overwhelming, knowledge is key in offering support. Here are six ways that we can empower those experiencing the challenges of ASD.
1. Dispel myths and misinformation.
When learning and sharing information, be sure to acquire it from vetted sources. Learning from real people’s experiences and high-quality resources is a great place to start. Not everyone who has ASD will display the same symptoms.
2. Give respect.
Every person deserves to be regarded with dignity. Treating a person with a developmental disability with the same regard as a person without a disability shows that they are just as worthy of respect. It is the beginning of establishing a relationship.
3. Offer empathy.
To understand what a person is going through, we must attempt to “walk in their shoes”. We don’t force them to walk in our shoes. When we are willing to enter their world to understand them, we can truly become their advocate. Developing a relationship can help create a foundation of healing.
4. Assume intelligence.
It would be unwise to think that just because an individual struggles with communication or is non-verbal that they have poor intellect. They may have something to say or share. We must utilize the passions and strengths of the individual and presume he or she understands more than is shown.
5. See through behavior.
While many behaviors of a person with ASD may be quite unappealing, inappropriate or even extreme, these actions are often communicating a distress or need. Before seeking to suppress unwanted behaviors with psychiatric drugs, work to understand and fill that need.
6. Share what you learn.
Acceptance and awareness are best promoted when we share our experiences with friends, colleagues and family. Encourage others to join in conversations. Make comments on videos and posts. Share articles that you find helpful. Your influence can have power for change.
We can each help bring more acceptance and support to individuals who have ASD. Our efforts can help them live to their fullest potential.