April 2 is the World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a condition characterized by the predominance of a closed inner life, active detachment from the outside world, and poor expression of emotions. When we hear “a person with autism,” most immediately imagine disabled people doomed to hostile living conditions. But it isn’t like that at all. People with autism have some kind of disorder in the brain development, but they are smart and talented in their way. Autism is defined by the presence of a characteristic triad of symptoms: lack of social interaction, impaired two-way communication, limited interests, and repetitive behavioral actions. Conditions with similar symptoms of autism were noticed in the 18th century. At that time, people with such signs were defined as closed, taciturn, but with outstanding mental abilities. Psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler started talking seriously about autism at the beginning of the 20th century. He coined the term “autism” to describe schizophrenia, and in 1938 the concept acquired its modern meaning thanks to psychiatrist Hans Asperger.
Even though science has made significant progress and autism no longer sounds like a verdict or a “black mark,” doctors are still not sure about the causes of autistic disorders. There are several hypotheses: heredity, gene mutation, low weight of the newborn, birth hypoxia, the parents' advanced age. At the same time, autism is more often diagnosed in boys than in girls. Note that people with autism are not mentally ill, do not suffer, and are definitely not crazy. They’re just different. Children and adults with autism can often create masterpieces of art, have a phenomenal memory, and show incredible results in learning. This is because they can repeat monotonous movements without irritation and focus on any subject. Thanks to such features, people with autism can thoroughly study a certain issue, learn foreign languages, master playing musical instruments, and so on. Among the famous people who one way or another showed some signs of autism are film director Woody Allen, one of the Microsoft founders Bill Gates, musician Bob Dylan, writer Virginia Woolf, the sixteenth President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, and artist Leonardo da Vinci.
In 2007, to draw attention to the problem of autism in children, the UN General Assembly officially declared April 2 the World Autism Awareness Day. It is on this day that meetings, exhibitions, and other events are held with the participation of people with autism spectra. The main symbol of this Day is a multicolored puzzle that unites people of all ages and nations into a single society that solves the problems of autism in the world.
Key methods of autism correction:
With timely diagnosis (especially important for children under 5), the next series of treatments is determined.
TEACCH methodology – parents create optimal conditions for their child. He or she regularly attends special classes with a teacher. All the things in their room are constantly in the same places. The child has a certain daily routine with hints in the form of cards. Animal therapy (dolphin therapy, hippotherapy, and Canis therapy) – this method of correction has a positive effect on social perception, helps the child improve the feeling of their body in space.
Occupational therapy is a process in which children are taught basic self-service skills: dressing, brushing their teeth, eating on their own.
Speech therapy: specially designed programs will help the child learn how to apply verbal skills in communicating with people.
Sensory integration therapy is a treatment accompanied by exercises for various types of sensory perception. Classes in a darkened sensory room, stimulation of visual perception with bright objects, development of the vestibular apparatus with jumps, somersaults. They also use sensory integration and stimulation techniques, sand therapy techniques, kinesiotherapy, i.e., position treatment, massage, and active-passive gymnastics, and much more.
Based on open sources.
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