Autistic Pride Day has been coined for celebrating the freedom and rights of individuals who are autistic. This day is marked with marches, peaceful demonstrations and parades all over the world and is celebrated on the 18th of June every year. It was first celebrated by the Aspies for Freedom in the year 2005. The autistic community has a unique rainbow infinity symbol representing them. The motto behind all these demonstrations is to represent diversity with infinite variations and infinite possibilities.
The entire purpose of autistic pride day is to spread awareness among people about the unique traits of autistic people who are much more than just being patients.
This world comprises of individuals suffering from many health issues and autism is just one of them. There is a need for better acceptance of people suffering from autism and for them to be brought into mainstream society and be given equal opportunities. Autistic Pride Day is all about setting up a new mindset about autistic people and autism.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition characterised by many symptoms and different skills. It is a neurodevelopment disorder that impacts several normal activities of the person. Some of them are difficulty in social interactions, clarity in speaking, memorising facts, etc. The initial symptoms occur mainly during the first few months after birth. Slowly and steadily, the symptoms become more visible when the need for human abilities to deal with different situations arises. Other common symptoms of autism include intellectual problems, anxiety, epilepsy, repetitive actions, irregular sleep patterns, epilepsy, metabolic disorders etc. Parents usually notice the signs of autism in the first 2 or3 years of their children’s life.
Most people with autism have difficulty living by themselves as adults and require a caregiver. People with autism are severely impaired in some areas of life but often possess skills which are superior to others without the condition.
Autism can happen to anyone irrespective of caste, colour, creed or gender just like any other severe health problem. The severity of autism can vary from age to age and person to person. The exact causes of autism are still being researched but it is certain that autism alters the development of the brain soon after conception.
Diagnosis of Autism
Some typical symptoms of autism are repetitive patterns or behaviour, specific activities or interests, use of idiosyncratic language, unusual gestures, lesser eye contact, and inability to recognise faces. It might seem as though autistic people prefer being alone but they often only require patience and love and may suffer from loneliness as they find it difficult to exhibit social understanding. People with autism usually do develop a soft corner for their caregivers. They often respond well to animals and pets and develop a strong connection with them.
Autism can be really difficult to diagnose in the initial stages. But there are several instruments developed for getting a better idea of the condition of the patient. The common ones are Autism Diagnostic Interview and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. The former is a semi-structured interview for parents to undertake while the latter takes in the observations and interactions with the child. Childhood Autism Rating Scale and Diagnostic interview for social and communication disorders are also important instruments for autism diagnosis.
Possible Treatments for Autism
Every problem stands still until a great move is made. Same is the case with Autism. Autism is caused by genetic and environmental problems. Many medications are provided to bring down the impact of the symptoms. Though there are no sure shot ways to eliminate this disorder, its symptoms can be reduced in severity by taking certain measures. Some of these treatments are as follows:
1. Therapy: Autism therapies are devised in order to improve the lifestyle of people suffering from autism. These therapies differ from person to person. Some of these therapies include speech and language therapy, structured teaching, social skills therapy. Special care and attention also brings a difference in the behaviour and habits of these people.
2. Turmeric: Consumption of natural herbs like turmeric can help a lot in autism spectrum disorder. Turmeric contains curcumin which is highly enriched with antioxidants and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. People suffering from autism tend to have low immunity and inflammation. Curcumin helps in reducing inflammations and helps in removing the toxins from the body which increases brain health and improves focusing power.
3. Gluten-Free Diet: A gluten-free diet can really impact the behaviour of individuals and take them to the path of normalcy. Gluten-free diet helps in reducing many allergies which might be harmful to the autistics.
4. Increase Quality of Life: People with autism respond well to stable environments. A good quality of life and avoiding disruptions in day to day activities as well as family distress can help a person with autism cope better with the disorder.
A number of people suffering from autism are prescribed anti-depressants, anti-convulsant, anti-psychotics and similar drugs. They may be successful in reducing symptoms temporarily but their side effects need to be weighed in the long run. No such drug has yet been proven to cure autism or provide long term relief yet.
How Can We Contribute?
1. Spread Love: Individuals with autism should be given unconditional love and acceptance just like any other individual. It is a complex disorder which is difficult to understand and feel. With several unusual symptoms, patients often find themselves in a state of confusion and sadness. By receiving love, care and support, people with autism can feel accepted and better.
2. Spread awareness: Now that we know about this disorder, spreading awareness about it can make people change their behaviour towards such patients. It is important to realise that small changes can bring a great amount of difference in people’s lives. Like many of us, autistics might have a different area of interests and can gain mastery in that particular area. A little belief and a different way of looking at such people can give them wings to fly.
3. Treat autistics as equals: People have been constantly working towards maintaining healthy relationships with patients suffering from deadly diseases like cancer, HIV, etc. Similarly treating autistics alike will be a good step in bringing down the levels of difficulty of integrating them into mainstream society and social interactions with autistics. As discussed earlier, autistics find it difficult to communicate and interact and this step can help them open up and form relationships.