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April 4th  World AUTISM Awareness Day

Autism Spectrum Disorder:

What can society do about it?chest?


On April 2nd, “International Autism Care Day” is celebrated. All over the world, people dress in blue and monuments and logos change color.

Research shows that, in the 1970s, the prevalence was 4.5 per 10,000. In 2006, 1 in every 1,000. Currently, studies already indicate that 1 in every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), that is, there are more than 2 million Brazilians with ASD.

The media has brought up the issue many times in recent weeks. But what do you need to know about the disorder and what can you do to contribute to the better development of people with ASD?


If you are a healthcare professional

The growing prevalence of ASD diagnoses makes it necessary (not to say mandatory) for all health professionals to be informed about the disorder. From the ENT on duty who evaluates a little one with a fever in a children's ER, the breastfeeding consultant who finds it strange that the baby lacks eye contact with his mother during feeding, the dentist who notices the change in the perception of oral sensitivity... These are common situations and real clinical practice.

So, knowing what Autism is, what intervention methods are supported by proven scientific evidence and providing correct guidance to families will shorten the path to diagnosis and intervention.

Alert: for professionals in the areas of rehabilitation (psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists) it is our ethical obligation to study a lot (constantly and deeply) before “getting our hands dirty”… Lives are at stake!


If you work in Early Childhood Education

Studying typical child development and being alert to the first signs of ASD in babies and young children is very important! Children spend a large part of their time in schools and, on the other hand, many “first-time parents” have no idea what to expect at each stage of a child's life and are unable to understand the changes in their children.

So, teacher/coordinator/director, don't hesitate to talk to the parents of that student who clashes with the group. The school team cannot diagnose, but can suggest an evaluation with a speech therapist, for example, and this action can speed up the entire intervention process!

If you already have a student with ASD, approach the clinical team, ask for more information, schedule regular meetings and request help in adapting teaching material, program content and class routines. All of these actions will allow the inclusion process to be more effective and will bring many more results for the child.


If you are a relative/friend of parents of a child with ASD

Research equates the stress level of parents of children with ASD to that of a soldier in battle, so do everything you can to ease the daily struggle.

Want suggestions? Don't question the veracity of the diagnosis (yes, unfortunately, it's true), support the parents' decisions, find out about current treatments, care and give affection to the parents and siblings of the child with ASD, ask anything you want... The disorder it should not be the “white elephant in the corner of the room”. Their struggle is very difficult and living without prejudice will make everything easier.


If you have children in your family or circle of friends

Don’t use the famous phrase “each child has their time”; On the contrary, if you notice something different or if the parent in question has confided in you some type of strangeness about their child, talk to those responsible and encourage them to seek professional help.

Again, the sooner the diagnosis and therapy process begins, the better the results will be for the child!


If you don't have children, but live in society and frequent public places

Don't judge a child who is crying, screaming, struggling on the floor or violating social rules. Don’t look askance at a mother who is trying to deal with the scene described in a “different” way. This could all be the fault of (invisible) autism. If you are nearby, an understanding smile or an offer of help is valuable!

Furthermore, the cause belongs to all of us, parents, professionals, uncles, neighbors, public managers, in short, the entire Brazilian society, so let's help raise awareness, fight for rights, but, above all, include and respect people with Autism!


Available in: Accessed on: 03/24/2023

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