Autism in spotlight in April

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The month of April was previously known as Autism Awareness Month, but now the name has been changed starting this year to Autism Acceptance Month.

This month may not mean a lot for some, but for roughly 5 million adults in the United States this month is about the inclusion that makes those affected feel seen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the United States. Autism spectrum disorder impacts the nervous system. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests and repetitive behaviors.

Some common misconceptions about autism are that the disorder looks the same for everyone. ​​Every individual is different.

However, there are primary characteristics that are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The primary characteristics are poorly developed social skills, difficulty with expressive and receptive communication, and the presence of restrictive and repetitive behaviors.

Anxiety is a normal part of development, but research confirms that people with autism experience elevated levels of anxiety in comparison to their typically developing peers.

An extensive review of the literature by White et al. that up to 84% of individuals with autism meet the criteria for clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders.

A student at Florida A&LM University who asked that her name not be used says her life hasn’t always been the easiest to live, but her family’s support and her Christian faith have helped her get through some of the toughest times.

“Since I was little, I knew I wasn’t as advanced as my peers and in grade school, I had some challenges when it came to schoolwork and classmates. It was always hard for me to get up in front of the class and have to present, no matter how much I knew the audience.”

“Since being here at FAMU, I still find it troubling sometimes to control my behaviors because so many things here happen at once, and I find myself shutting down sometimes, but I deal with certain things a lot better than I did as a child,” she said.

FAMU offers assistance for those in need at the Center for Disability Access and Resources. The center helps those with learning disabilities and it also helps those students who need academic, physical, and psychological help.

To apply or learn more about the Center for Disability Access and Resources, go to and search The Center for Disability Access and Resources.