By SHERRI RUGGIERI
What is autism?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention describes “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.
A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.” https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html
What does awareness accomplish? People fear what they don’t understand. The goal is to educate about the spectrum of behaviors and building acceptance by society.
My 21 year old daughter is on the autism spectrum. She inspires me each day with her brave beauty and brilliant mind. I realize how the sensory world assaults her and how she struggles with frustration that leads to rage. I first became her advocate when we were seeking a learning environment where she would be successful. Then I met various other parent-advocates and realized the transforming power of love.
Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News and a proud advocate mom. The featured image is her interpretation of the autism spectrum with watercolor and permanent ink on cold press paper.
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