Happy World Autism Awareness Day!! April 2nd was officially declared World Autism Day in 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly. But the first actual day was on April 2nd, 2008. This date is important to me because my son was first diagnosed with autism around this time and this is when my journey to not only raise awareness but acceptance too began. Like most parents who hear the doctor utter the words “your child is on the autism spectrum”, your heart immediately drops in fear of the unknown and what will happen next, and what will the future hold. From then on I’ve been involved with Autism Ontario and raised the flag that symbolized awareness in my community. It’s a date that parents can unite together and light up their landmarks in blue in hopes to bring peace to those we love.
The diagnostic terms used for Autism have changed over time and can be different depending on where you are located. Today autism is the current diagnosis commonly used with a level given from 1 to 3, with level 3 being the most severe and require the most assistance. I’m going to quickly cover the current levels and then go over the diagnoses commonly used in the past, which are still commonly used outside of medical settings.
- Level 1: Requiring Support due to inflexibility, poor organization, poor planning, problems with transitioning between activities, poor social skills, difficulty initiating interactions, confusion about taking turns in conversations, and trouble making friends.
- Level 2: Requiring Substantial Support from problems with verbal and non-verbal social communication, restrictive or repetitive behaviours and trouble transitioning between activities.
- Level 3: Requiring a lot of substantial support because of severe difficulties in communication, limited to no speech and lacking in expressing basic needs or only expressing basic needs. This may also include ODD or repetitive behaviours.
- Asperger’s Syndrome: This was given to people with the highest functioning end of the spectrum. Children with this diagnosis develop language skills in the same timeframe as typical children would. However, they still struggle with appropriate social communication. These problems tend to become more visible when the child is older and social expectations increase.
- PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder): This was given to people who experienced a group of developmental, socialization and communication disorders. So sort of a catch-all category where they don’t fit into any particular box. Known today as ASD (somewhere on the autism spectrum disorder).
- CDD (Childhood Disintegrative Disorder): This was given to people who were at the very low end of the autism spectrum, meaning they required substantial support, non-verbal or every limited speech or communication skills and developmentally delayed. This is now considered a level 3 ASD.
- PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified): This was considered to be similar to Asperger’s syndrome but was missing some criteria to formally Diagnosis. This affected their social and communicative skills. Meaning they can understand words, vocabulary, and comprehend grammar but still struggle with pragmatic language such as using language appropriately in social situations like greeting a new person or taking turns in conversation. Today this is just called ASD, perhaps a level 1ish.
- Rett Syndrome: Rett’s is a genetic disorder common in families who have an ASD diagnosis. It primarily affects the brain’s development causing progressive loss of motor skills, speech, and even seizures. This syndrome includes symptoms of autism so instead of Rett Syndrome it is now given one of the 3 levels of ASD.
Wow, all that sounds confusing but any form of change or adjustments always are. If you haven’t already please subscribe as well as to my YouTube channel. My New YouTube up load scheduled is as follows:
Mondays at 8:30 pm (vlog – peek into our daily lives)
Wednesday at 8:30 pm (Let’s Talk Premiere) will be an informative subject where I will be available for questions or discussions in the chat between 8:30 pm and 9:00 pm (these notes will be posted here in my blog as well as references to the subject).
Fridays at 8:30 pm (vlog – cooking with the kids / inspirational cooking/baking ideas).