What does the Puzzle Piece really mean?

What does the Puzzle Piece really mean?

Most of us have seen the puzzle piece symbol for the Autism Society but how many of us really know what it means?

 

Autism is one of several developmental disorders found in the Pervasive Developmental Disorders category of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). It is one of a range of disorders that affects a person’s social skills, communication, and behavior. Other disorders in the Autism Spectrum include Asperger Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Rett Syndrome.

 

Because Autism is a developmental disorder, it is likely to be diagnosed before a child reaches age three although symptoms begin to show as young as 12 months. Early signs that a child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder include:

·         Repeated motions (i.e. rocking or spinning);

·         Avoiding eye contact or physical touch;  

·         Delays in speech

·         Repeating words or phrases; and

·         Over reacting to minor changes.

 

These symptoms represent the three primary areas of concern associated with this category. First, the use ritualistic or obsessive behaviors (the repetition of words or phrases) typically represent self-soothing behaviors. Second, problems in communication are very common. The third category is difficulty with personal interaction, as evidenced by difficulties with eye contact or touch. In general, individuals with Autism are overly sensitive to change and have difficulty managing their reactions when stimulated.

 

Individuals with Autism are not mentally retarded (another type of developmental disability) and can have normal IQs. However, the deficits that they have in communication, peer interactions, or behaviors do require specialized interventions – in both the home and school. The sooner the correct diagnosis is made, the sooner care-givers can be educated on the kinds of supports the child may need. There are a number of support and advocacy groups available for individuals who care for children and adults with Autism.

 

The Autism Society reported in 2012, that every one in 88 births in the United States is a child along the Autism Spectrum. This rate is even higher in boys (1 in 54 births). There are millions of children in schools today, and in our community as adults, who must face the challenges of this disorder. For some, that may mean life-long community supports. Autism is a disorder that never improves but through education and support, a person with this disorder can live a productive and happy life.

 

Abilities Services, Inc. is authorized by the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities to provide services to adults with Autism through the state’s Community Integration or Family Support Waiver Program. For more information, please contact our Frankfort office, located at 110 S. Prairie Avenue, at 659-4631 or visit www.aispages.com.

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What is a Disability?

The definition of a developmental disability includes, but is not limited to: an intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, a severe head injury that occurred before the age of 22, or a severe seizure disorder.

 

Under federal law, "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:

 

  • attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments
  • manifests before the individual attains age 22
  • is likely to continue indefinitely
  • results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • self care
    • receptive and expressive language
    • learning
    • reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.
    • economic self-sufficiency; and
    • capacity for independent living
    • self-direction
    • mobility

 

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