Mandan News

Autism spectrum disorder around us

By Sarah Kovash
MHS Courier

It is estimated that one in 700 children born in the United States each year is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Take that number by eight, and you get the number of children diagnosed every with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a complex developmental disability.

Roughly, each year, one in 88 children between the ages of one to three are considered to be on the Spectrum.

If those numbers are correct, then at the Mandan High School, there should be about 15 students diagnosed with ASD.

That is only the number of people diagnosed; that does not include those who have not been diagnosed by a doctor and are considered to just have “problems” learning in school.

What is ASD?
A person diagnosed with ASD typically has problems with communication and social interaction skills.
However, since ASD is considered a “wide-spectrum disorder,” no two people with ASD have the same problems.

Some diagnosed are unable to communicate at all, while others are able to express themselves, but they still have difficulties.

Usually, they are unable to empathize with people as easily as others. That doesn’t mean they are unable to feel emotions.

What can we do to help?
The most common myth about ASD is that those diagnosed aren’t able to feel happiness, sadness or pain like everyone lese because they cannot express their feelings.

Because they are unable to communicate, it is up to the family, friends and peers to develop an understanding of what they have and what they are going through.

Even though it is not possible to have a complete understanding what is running through their minds, there still needs to be support for them.

Support can be something as simple as not making fun of them for the way they act, or don’t act.
Sometimes all a person really needs is a friend or someone who is willing to be there for them. The same is true for those on the Spectrum.

Reaching out for those around you, whether you know they are Autistic or not, can change a person’s life.

As of right now, there is no cure for Autism, that means there needs to be effort from everyone on accepting and understanding what ASD is.