Autistic Pride Day June 18th, 2022 – Why It’s Important
What is Autistic Pride Day?
Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects the way a person communicates, interacts and processes the world around them. It is characterized by repetitive behaviors, and can affect speech and social skills. In the United States, it is estimated that autism affects 1 in 44 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Each individual on the autism spectrum is unique, and their way of seeing the world is unique and special. Autistic Pride Day was created to recognize that all human beings are different in the way they see the world, and that autism should be a cause for pride. Being autistic is an important part of someone’s identity. Consequently, there is a need for greater societal awareness and understanding of autism. With a better understanding and greater acceptance of autism, autistic individuals can be better supported to use their skills and talents to contribute meaningfully to the world around them.
Autistic Pride day began in 2005, and has been celebrated ever since every June 18 or the weekend closest to that date. Autistic Pride day is celebrated by people on the spectrum. Since it was first held in 2005, the event is now celebrated around the world.
What Healthcare Workers Treat Autistic Patients?
Given that the autism spectrum can vary greatly from person to person and across the lifespan, some individuals have more subtle difficulties, while others have complex needs and require more intensive support. It takes a combination of doctors and therapists to help manage and treat the unique challenges of autism. For instance, some therapists who can provide support for the spectrum include:
- Pediatricians can help diagnose the disorder early, consequently seeking support from specialists to begin prompt treatment and thus improve the long-term prognosis.
- A psychiatrist is vitally important for individuals on the spectrum who in addition to ASD have anxiety, concerns about random issues, or attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD and ADHD). Many times, the spectrum is linked to hyperactivity or aggression, or mental health conditions that can affect learning and interaction with others. Some people will need medication to help with these disorders.
- Physical therapists are in a unique position to help children with ASD. They help them develop gross motor and basic movement skills. These skills help children play games and sports and participate in physical education with their peers. Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement.
- Speech-Language Pathologist: Language skills may be affected in people with ASD. A speech therapist helps them communicate and improve their language skills, whether the person communicates verbally or uses gestures or pictures.
- An occupational therapist can help people on the spectrum perform important everyday tasks such as walking, bathing, eating, etc. Many times a person on the autism spectrum has problems coping with new sounds, smells, situations and environments, so the therapist will help them integrate better into new situations and try new things.
- Nutritionist: Since it is difficult to integrate into new situations, it is also difficult to try new tastes. Since eating a variety of foods is important for staying healthy, a nutritionist can help with different preparations to try new foods. There is also evidence linking that some foods can worsen the symptoms of autism, while increasing some vitamins and minerals to the diet can improve them.
- Neurologist: Neurologists can help with disorders that affect the brain, given that many people with autism also develop epilepsy in its various forms.
For both healthcare professionals and individuals with ASD, the treatments that can be performed may face some obstacles. People on the autism spectrum may feel overwhelmed by new situations, feel they no longer want to try new things, and become completely disengaged from any treatment and testing that is attempted. Therefore, healthcare professionals need a lot of patience with these unique obstacles that arise: they will often need to seek support from their colleagues, seek more support from other professionals, take a deep breath and try again, even try again but from a different approach, ask for support from family and other stakeholders, and so on.
Whatever the obstacle they face, they will need a team of professionals allied in finding what is best for the patient. A multidisciplinary team will also include the doctors and nurses, and all members of society who must integrate people on the autism spectrum as valued members of society.
It is from the Nursa™ team that we open our arms and hearts to the diversity that brings new ways of seeing the world as people with ASD do, and we congratulate all those who make it possible for this movement of awareness to make our world a better place to live.