Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities. These issues cause significant impairment in social, occupational and other areas of functioning. You know the saying..."If you have met one, you have met them all"....well, with kids on the spectrum that is not the case at all!

The children with Autism Spectrum Disorder develop at completely different rates in different areas. They may have delays in language, social, and learning skills, while their ability to do other things such as walk and run around are similar to other kids their age. They might be above average with putting puzzles together or working on computer problems, but they could struggle with social activities like speaking or even making friends. Kids on the spectrum might even learn a hard skill before they master an easy one. For example, a child will read long words, but struggle to tell you what sound a "d" makes.

Children develop each at their own rate, but there are some age-specific developmental milestones used to help measure a child's progress during their first few years. The link below talks more about those social and emotional milestones. In our experiences with Trae and others on the spectrum the saying is true..."If you've met one individual with Autism, you've met ONE individual with Autism". 

Learn the Signs. Act Early(http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html)

Today, we want to introduce you to Alexis Wineman. She became the first Miss America contestant (Miss Montana) with autism to compete in the pageant. Alexis was diagnosed with pervasive development disorder. She said "My path may not be one that another person would choose, but I challenged myself to enter the Miss America competition because it seemed like the peak to my own personal Everest. It also seemed kind of ironic: a girl who was told she was different and considered an outcast by many, in the nation's biggest beauty pageant".

So AWESOME!! I would say that she set her goals high and made sure to "DREAM BIG! Alexis reached the top 15 in the competition, and won the America's Choice Award for garnering the most online viewer votes.  She stated "So many people expect autistic people to all be the same--that it's a brain disorder so we can't function in society. I want people to realize there's a whole spectrum of people who live with autism. There are high-functioning people and low-functioning people". 

Another great example that anything is possible. Set you goals high and "Dream Big"!

Links used for the story...

 http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/17/health/wineman-autism/

http://style.time.com/2013/01/11/5-questions-with-alexis-wineman-miss-americas-first-autistic-contestant/

#autism #awareness #dreambig #kidsanddreams #500forautism

 

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