World Autism Awareness Day: How to prevent the disorder?

Actor Anthony Hopkins (left) and singer Susan Boyle (right) were diagnosed with autism. Photo: Instagram/realitytvuk/BojanMirkovic

Do you know what connects multiple Oscar award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins, Britain's Got Talent fame singer Susan Boyle, Pokemon franchise creator Satoshi Tajiri and Nobel Prize winner economist Vernon L Smith? The highly successful individuals reached the summit of their achievements despite being on the ‘autism spectrum.’
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder. It affects communication, social interaction, and behaviour. It's called a ‘spectrum’  disorder as it affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. 

Symptoms of ASD
ASD can have a range of symptoms - from mild to severe - from individual to individual. However, not all individuals with autism might have all of them either. Some may have additional symptoms as well. Regardless, the common symptoms are difficulty with social interactions and changes, repetitive behaviours, restricted interests, and challenges with verbal and nonverbal communication.

Can autism be prevented? 
According to the World Health Organization, “A broad range of interventions, from early childhood and across the life span, can optimize the development, health, well-being and quality of life of autistic people.” It says timely access to ‘early evidence-based psychosocial interventions’ can help autistic children to improve their communication skills. For more details, check the website.

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