"Autism awareness begins the moment you realize a new definition of amazing and that your perception of the world isn't the only one that exists. Don't let your eyes deceive what your heart is capable of knowing". - Jeanine Papacharalambous
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex and lifelong neurobiological condition that affects brain development. Autism does not only affect the brain but also the gastrointestinal, immune and nervous systems.
Because autism is a spectrum disorder, levels range from mild to severe. Some of the challenges experienced include, social interaction, both verbal and non-verbal communication as well as repetitive behaviours in varying degrees.
There is no such thing as a standard definition or understanding of autism as each individal living with autism is unique from one another. Their abilities, skills and needs vary on a person by person basis.
Children living with autism develop at rates that you and I may never fully understand. For example, their cognitive abilities may develop at a much slower rate than their motor skills. In saying this, children with autism are just as intellectual as any other child, they excel in very specific areas and percieve the world around them just a little bit different than everyone else does.
They sense emotions such as love, happiness, pain and sadness just like you and I but simply express it in a different way. They feel, they know and they understand. Education surrounding autism is imperative in order to allow for a deeper sense of inclusiveness and awareness.