What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder which causes differences in communication and cognitive functioning.
How common is ASD? 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with ASD-- 1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls.
What are the signs of ASD?
The signs of ASD depend on the age of the individual, and the age at which it begins to become clear varies. Signs of autism at any age include:
It is important to note that autism is not a mental illness. It is a neurodivergent makeup which causes the individual's mind to function differently, and as such there are often both challenges and strengths that come along with this.
People with autism are not able to lead independent lives. Many people with autism do lead fulfilling independent lives. People with ASD are all individuals, and so their individual circumstances are going to be different for everyone.
People with autism are all geniuses. While many people with ASD are very intelligent and skilled, the trope that portrays all people with autism as geniuses is both untrue and unhelpful because it implies that people with autism have to compensate for their neurodivergence.
People with autism are unintelligent. The misconception that people with autism are unintelligent is equally as harmful. People with autism are all individuals and will have their own strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. Furthermore, difficulty in understanding how another person thinks does not make their way of thinking less valuable than your own-- it just makes it different.
People with autism spectrum disorder may be at higher risk of mental health challenges:
For more information about the physical and mental health challenges of living with autism, click here.
Fr. Matthew Schneider hosts a YouTube channel called "Autistic Priest". In this video, he shares things that people with ASD wish their fellow Catholics understood about them.
Uniquely Catholic is a ministry providing resources for individuals and parishes about inclusivity for people with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities in the Body of Christ.
The Autism Society provides information, advocacy, and other support for individuals with autism and their families. They also provide information in Spanish.
Autistic Priest is a YouTube channel and blog run by a Roman Catholic priest with ASD.
Distracted Catholics is a Facebook group for Catholics with ADHD, OCD, ASD, and other neuroatypical conditions.
Autism Consecrated promotes the belonging of autistic people in the Body of Christ, provides spiritual support to Catholics with ASD, and provides support on vocational discernment.