World Autism Day: April 2

Greece lacks the facilities to cater for people diagnosed with autism

April 2 is observed as World Autism Awareness Day. The day is meant to raise awareness about autism, a developmental disorder which impairs your ability to communicate and interact. Autism can be defined as a complex neurobehavioural condition which causes problems with language and communication skills.

It also causes a person to have repetitive and rigid behaviour. Autism is characterised by a range of symptoms and is thus also known as autism spectrum disorder. On the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day 2019, the effort is to spread widespread awareness about autism, and try to break social, environmental and psychological barriers that come in way of autistic people.

It is important to know that symptoms of autism appear during first 3 years of life. While some children show signs of autism since birth itself, others slip into the symptoms suddenly when they are 18 to 36 months old. According to WebMD, autism is more common in boys than girls.

It has to be known that autism is one syndrome which falls under autism spectrum disorders. Following are the disorders which are classified under umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder:

1. Autistic disorder: This is autism which is characterised by problems with communication and social interactions.

2. Childhood disintegrative disorder: This kind of autism affects children, where they develop normally for at least 2 years. They then lose most of their communication and social skills. Childhood disintegrative disorder is quite rare.

3. Asperger’s syndrome: Children with asperger’s syndrome experience same social problems as autistic disorder. They have limited scope of interests but they don’t face any problems with language. They score as much as average or above average students as well.

4. Pervasive developmental disorder: This is also similar to typical autism. This disorder is for children who experience some autistic behaviours but they don’t fit into any of the above categories of autism spectrum disorder.

In Greece, during the years of the economic crisis (2010-2019) funds directed at the problem have dwindled, while public awareness is still low on the issue.