Currently, 1 in 100 Australian's are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
As a disorder that varies along a ‘spectrum’ from person to person, chances are, unless you know someone diagnosed with autism, you probably have no idea what it involves or how it actually affects someone day-to-day.
Which is why, we think, for such a prevalent disorder, it deserves more education and awareness than what it currently is getting. To help spread the word, love and support, at Francesca we’ve decided to dedicate our charity ‘awareness bracelet’ this month to
For those that are regular Francesca followers and loyal customers, you’ll know our brand ethos is all about ‘giving meaning to jewellery’ which is why we are passionate about releasing a charity jewellery line regularly to support a cause with an important purpose.
As part of the partnership, we’re dedicating this entire blog to spreading autism awareness and have created an informational guide to what autism is, what autism involves and how you can help support those with autism spectrum disorder.
To learn more about autism, check out our fact sheet and guide to supporting autism awareness below.
“Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to his or her environment and their interactions with other people,” according to the official Autism Awareness Australia website.
Autism has a range of varying tendencies and characteristics, but they all tend to fall predominantly under two main aspects: social communication issues and repetitive behavioural patterns.
Signs of autism can include:
- Difficulty understanding high-level language skills such as verbal reasoning, problem solving, making inferences and predictions.
- Being unable to understand another person’s point of view
- Struggling to initiate social interactions or maintain an interaction with another
- Not being responsive in a way that is expected or socially accepted
- Preferring routines and schedules - disruptions can result in stress and anxiety
- Specialised interest in a particular area, hobby or field.
- Difficulty picking up on non-verbal communication such as body language cues
- Trouble developing or maintaining relationships with others
According to Autism Awareness Australia, currently there is no exact reliable cause or biological test for autism. It’s even hard for science to predict yet if it’s a single disorder or a group of disorders with many different causes.
But what they do know for now is that it can often be a result of a mix of varying factors such as: family genetics (i.e. if someone in the family already has autism), older parents (those having children over 45 years), pregnancy complications (such as a bacterial or viral infection during the prenatal period) and every day environmental aspects (the research is still out on this one).
Autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed at any stage in life, be it toddlers, pre-school, school aged children, teenagers or adulthood.
However, quite often it’s not uncommon to go through school and not be diagnosed with autism until later in adulthood.
As such a complex disorder, it’s so normal for the diagnosis to bring up so many emotions and issues, so it’s really important to feel supported in your decision to seek help with a diagnosis, either for yourself or a loved one.
The best advice we believe is to seek help from trusted experts, support groups, organisations and resources.
Key resources include:
Whether you are the one who is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as an adult or a parent or relative of someone recently diagnosed with autism, it can be confronting or disconcerting initially.
The most important advice Autism Awareness Australia shares is to see the diagnosis as ‘a positive step forward and a way for you, your child or loved one to receive greater understanding and support.’
While they emphasise that its common and natural to feel overwhelmed or emotional by the news, it is so important to not see yourself or a loved one as ‘any better or worse than how they were the day before.’
For those struggling to adjust, understand or come to terms with the diagnosis, it’s so important to seek professional support or help. For financial or mental health support, check out the Autism Awareness Australia health care resource page here.
Education and awareness is everything. By just reading or sharing this blog, checking out the trusted autism resources above, learning key traits and ways to help support loved ones and opening up conversations around autism, you’re already making a big difference!
However, to help further support autism’s cause and fund much needed research, you can also make a donation by purchasing one of our Autism Awareness Australia charity bracelets here.
For the whole month of October, $20 from every purchase of this bracelet will be donated directly to Autism Awareness Australia so make sure to get in quick!
Also don’t forget to share on social and tag #stretchawareness to share the love!