Petraa Grant Autism Charity
Petraa has launched her Autism Charity which aims to make a difference to those affected by the disability. Learn more about Autism and how it affects people and the ways we can all get a greater understanding of the obstacles people with Autism face.
What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disability that affects people of every nationality around the world. When a person has Autism it can affect how they interact with others, how they communicate and the way they ‘view’ and perceive the world around them. Autism is a lifelong disability that has no cure, although there are ways to assist people suffering with Autism to lead a fulfilling life.
What Causes Autism?
There is no definitive answer to this question as there is on-going research to understand the condition. Although, research has indicated that Autism originates in early brain development in the womb. There could be other genetic and environmental factors that may also contribute to a person developing Autism, such as the age of the parents of the child, ingestion of pesticides or other drugs during pregnancy and lack of oxygen during delivery. Early diagnosis can contribute to an Autistic person getting the best support for their circumstances and can assist the family in understanding their child and getting the best out of them. When given the correct type of support geared towards the individuals needs Autistic people can lead independent and fulfilling lives.
How is Autism Diagnosed?
The formal diagnosis of Autism involves a team of experts that is often made up of paediatricians, language and speech therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists. The process of diagnosis is started if an individual has a history of problems interacting with others, coupled with repetitive behaviour and the desire to have the same daily routine. Small children may be known to ‘regress’ once they reach a certain age, and may shy away from cuddles and comforting. Lack of, or limited communication skills are also pointers to being affected by Autism. Autistic people sometimes have hobbies and interests that they like to engage in for extended periods of time and they may also talk about them in great detail. Some Autistic people are highly skilled at Maths and Art and have a high IQ.
Different Forms of Autism
Autism is what is known as a spectrum condition. Which means that there are different ‘forms’ or ‘types’ of Autism. Although everyone that has Autism will share certain disabilities, the level and degree that it affects them will differ. It can also affect some people’s mental health and learning ability. There are many different forms of Autism, but all Autistic people are capable of gaining developmental abilities and learning skills if given the right support. Whilst some excel in the area of maths and art, or have an exceptionally high IQ. Additionally, there have been more recorded cases of males than females affected by Autism.
The Spectrum of Autism
- ASD – Autism spectrum disorder
- ASC – Autism spectrum condition
- Kanner Autism,
- PDD – Pervasive Developmental Disorder
- HFA – High-functioning Autism
- Asperger syndrome
- PDA – Pathological Demand Avoidance
How Does Autism Affect People?
More often people that suffer from Autism, do not have any distinguishable or physical features that indicate they have a disability. This can lead other people to misunderstand autistic people when they around them. They can also have trouble interpreting or expressing their emotions and can act or appear to be insensitive to other people’s feelings. They sometimes behave in a way that is thought to be inappropriate on a social level and can become introverted and seek solace when around too many people.
How Autistic People Cope with Their Surroundings?
Autism can affect how people cope with anxiety about their surroundings and how they interact with others. Doing everyday tasks can seem daunting, as some Autistic people can feel overwhelmed with everything that is going on around them. Sensations and feelings of sound, light, touch, taste, temperature, smell and pain can become overbearing, distracting and can cause over or under sensitivity. Background noises can seem very loud and can be heard over the other noise. Lights and shiny objects can be appealing and may cause distraction to Autistic people.
Communication and Speech of Autistic People
Some Autistic people have trouble verbalising themselves and can have limited speech, or do not speak at all. Although they tend to understand more than they can express and often communicate very well using sign language when speech is limited. Others have good language skills and can hold a conversation, but they may struggle to fully interpret what the other person has said. Sometimes people are affected with ‘echolalia’ where they repeat back what has been said to them. Speaking to autistic people using clear and concise language will enable them to digest the information and greater understand what is expected of them from the conversation.
What Difficulties Do Autistic People Face?
Autistic people have trouble understanding and relating to other people. They are not able to ‘read’ people in the same way other people do and interacting with people on a social level can be more difficult. Whereas other people are able to read body language, facial expressions, language nuisances, tones of voice, jokes and sarcasm, Autistic people are not always able to read these signs and usually take things in the literal sense. This can cause difficulties taking part in everyday activities, or relating to other people at home, school, work and socially. It can also be difficult for Autistic people to make and form friendships, as they want to engage with others, but may not know how.
More Information relating to what the charity means to Petraa and how she aims to make difference in Jamaica, to follow… Watch this space!