April 2, the annual World Autism Awareness Day, that among other things, aimed to create an awareness about autism and autistic individuals numbering around 4 million globally, CNN reported.
As per the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control data released in 2020, autism was estimated to affect 1 in 54 children annually. This was up from the 2014 estimate of 1 in 59 representing a 10% increase.
World Autism Day Spreads Awareness, Understanding And Acceptance Of People With Different Brains
Autism is generally seen as a different way of thinking.
According to commentators, if people could be thought of as computers, autistic individuals could be said to have operating systems that enabled them to process life experiences differently from the rest of the human population.
Autism which is considered the fastest-growing developmental disability is unfortunately also one about which relatively little was known. It was known that on average that brains of autistic individuals were larger and that pruning of excess neurons in them, happened more slowly than in normal brains.
Scientists had also uncovered that autism affected linkages between brain parts governing emotions, executive functioning and sensory input.
Multiple studies had proven that contrary to the narrative pushed by a vocal group of skeptics, there was no link between autism and vaccines.
Research had also shown that autistic individuals had limited ability understanding an environment’s socially rich features and their integration to develop a broad understanding of the world.
According to Stephen Shore, clinical assistant professor, Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, autism was a puzzle and mystery. He added that among the biggest challenges in understanding the condition was that it presented differently from person to person.
Shore said when one had met one person who was autistic, one had met one autistic person and that experience had nothing to do with autism, as a whole. Shore who is also autistic added one needed to accept, be aware of, and appreciate the incredible diversity that marked the autism spectrum. He added what that suggested was that one needed to get to know autistic people as individuals and rather than a collection of characteristics.
Meanwhile, research into autism was ongoing and according to one March 2021 paper the prevalence of autism in England was much higher originally thought by scientists.
According to another study co-authored by Kevin Pelphrey, the Harrison-Wood Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professor of Neurology, University of Virginia Brain Institute, Charlottesville, autism might be fundamentally different in boys and girls.
The paper was set for publishing in a forthcoming issue of the journal Brain.
According to commentators, the work added to recent investigations into a perplexing and fascinating statistic- boys outnumbered girls four to one in autism diagnosis.
While this discrepancy could partly be attributed to clinical bias as the subjects for research had been predominantly boys, according to Pelphrey, further investigation might uncover autism of two different kinds related to two underlying mechanisms in the brain that were different —a dichotomy that could in some cases lead to incorrect diagnoses of other issues related to mental health.
Meanwhile, as researchers continued to grapple with tough questions, autism was becoming more mainstream. Mainstream society had accepted people like Greta Thunberg, scientist Temple Granding and singer Susan Boyle and celebrated some of their special qualities.
The creative world was also opening up to them with books such as Naoki Higashida’s The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a 13-Year-Old Boy with Autism. In the entertainment industry autistic individuals had made their mark with films such as Loop, which was a short from Pixar about a Black autistic woman.
According to commentators, greater acceptance of autism also appeared to be the trend in the corporate world.