People may be different and act differently from what most people are use to seeing. We need to realize that we are lucky, but we are also vulnerable. No matter if one has a disability or not, the family will always be blessed for having someone special in their life. A multitude of people live with autism, so many people should be aware of this disorder. As many people know, autism is a disability that can affect one’s performance. According to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), autism is interpreted as, “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance” (Special Education Guide). IDEA responds, “Other characteristics often associated with autism are engaging in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to sensory experiences. The term autism does not apply if the child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance” (Special Education Guide). Autism is a type of disability separated into subcategories for autism spectrum disorder also known as ASD. It’s called “spectrum” disorder because people with ASD have an assortment of symptoms, skills, and a wide variation of how one functions from their disability (National). ASD is a group of complex developmental disability disabilities that usually will show up during childhood and it will affect the way the person communicates and interacts with people around them (Society). If someone has a disability, it usually affects them for a lifetime (U.S. Department). Autism, asperger syndrome, rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) are categorized into ASD (Special Education Guide). National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) states that, ASD is “gaining momentum” because it easily identifies how alike the disorders are in this group (Special Education Guide). To tell if someone fits into ASD, that person has to have certain symptoms at a certain age to be diagnosed with it. Some symptoms will become visible from 18-24 months, but it will appear clearer from 24 months-6 years of age (Society). If a toddler is unsuccessful to react to their name being called, start babbling at a later age in life, or their liking in people decrease, that may have autism (Autism Speaks). Kids about the age of one are able to respond by looking at the person who uttered their name, he or she should be able to say a word or two such as the word no, and be able to gesture at objects they seem fascinated in (Autism Speaks). People who may develop autism at a later age, they are able to mumble a bit, but they will lose communication as they get older (Autism Speaks). Most kids are able to form sentences by the age of three (Autism Speaks). If a child is unable to speak or gesture by 12 months old, is unable to vocally speak by 16 months old, or end up losing those skills, a professional or a pediatric doctor should perform a developmental screening (Society). A developmental screening could potentially help diagnose the child’s disability. If a parent is worried their child may have ASD, seeking a neurologist, pediatrician, psychologist, or a speech therapist can help diagnose the child (Society). Unfortunately, there is no official diagnosis for autism, but having a developmental screening can help identify other causes or diagnosis (Society). Also, there are no behavioral or communication test, so medical professionals use a screening instrument to diagnose autism (Society). National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities recommend parents to screen their child, by a professional doctor, at least three times before the age of three (Society). If one is diagnosed early in life, lifelong care could be reduced by ? (Society). When a parent receives a diagnosis for their child, it may be a relief, but they won’t know how their child may act. Autism has three major characteristic traits which are social interaction, behavior, and communication (Special Education Guide). Some people have an intense, yet unusual, obsession with items such as vacuum cleaners, fans, and toilets (Special Education Guide). Some people may speak like a professor because they have a phenomenal knowledge, so they know and can repeat information in extreme detail (Autism Speaks). Older autistic children and adults may be highly fascinated in numbers, symbols, dates, and science topics (Autism Speaks). Some people tend to speak a broken language by only speaking single words or repeated phrases (Autism Speaks). For a few people, it is hard for them to focus on something without completing their routine, so if their schedule is interrupted, they may have a disruptive behavior which includes crying, head banging, hair pulling, and self-biting (Special Education Guide). They react this way because it causes stress on them that they aren’t doing their normal routine. Others have self-stimulating behaviors where it may be confusing, unpleasant, or painful, so they react by doing repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping, rocking, arranging objects, jumping and twirling around, and they may repeat sounds, words, or phrases (Autism Speaks). Autistic people will have an unusual communication habit, so sometimes it is hard for them to communicate with others (Special Education Guide). Another characteristic is an inability to understand social interactions which may include sarcasm, tone of how people speak , understanding someone’s body language, and a simple smile or wave may have little to no meaning to them (Special Education Guide). Some people are hypersensitive to sound or touch, so wearing clothing, being touched by others, or when their is normal lighting, it may be hard for them to tolerate (Autism Speaks). Other people can be under responsive, hyposensitivity, where people are unable to respond to their name being called (Autism Speaks). People who are pica, eat non-food items, need to be watched because they could eat ┬ásubstances such as dirt, clay, chalk, or paint chips (Autism Speaks). It is exceptionally common for those who have autism to have an intellectual disability (Autism Speaks). Sleep problems is also common for those with autism (Autism Speaks). To a parent, it may seem like their child is distant from them, but researchers say otherwise (Autism Speaks). Lastly, a child may fail to find comfort or has the inability to respond to when their parent is angry or display affection (Autism Speaks). People don’t have as bad of characteristics because some people have more severe types of them. About 39% of the ASD population has a seizure disorder, epilepsy (Autism Speaks). Some people may experience a grand mal seizure, involving the loss of consciousness and aggressive muscle contractions (Mayo Clinic). Another type is petit mal, the person will appear “absent” only for a temporary amount of time (Autism Speaks). A third kind is the subclinical seizures, only apparent during electroencephalogram (EEG) testing (Autism Speaks). Sometimes people experience more than one seizure (Autism Speaks). Seizures can be scary, especially if a parent wants their child to go to school and succeed without having to worry if their kid will have a seizure or act in a bad behavior causing disturbance because of the characteristics he or she has. To see if a child is qualified for special education, he or she has to be evaluated first (Society). Depending on one’s disability functioning level, the parent may request for one or if the school system believes an evaluation is needed (Society). A multidisciplinary team, will evaluate the child (Society). Every three years, there needs to be a re-evaluation, more can be done if requested (Society). If the child receives special education, it takes more than $8,600 extra to educate them every year (Society). Parent’s tend to give their child an evaluation, but they may be curious on what causes the disability. Researchers are completely sure what causes autism, but they believe that the structure in the brain and how it functions can cause a huge role (Society). Brain scans have shown that the brain is shaped and structured differently in people who have autism (Society). Another belief researcher’s have is that genetics can affect the way the brain develops because of an identifiable genetic condition (Autism Speaks). These genetic conditions contain chromosome 15 duplication syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Angelman syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and other single-gene and chromosomal conditions (Autism Speaks). Professionals also believe that when a women is pregnant and has substance intake, it can increase the risk for autism in the child (Society). We continue to wonder what are the reasons for what happens to one’s life, but all we can do is lead them into the right direction and make them happy. Getting to know what one likes and dislikes are helpful for the person getting to know them and the person who has the disorder (Special Education Guide). By knowing what they like, it is easier to gain the autistic person’s attention because one can use something they are interested in (Special Education Guide). NICHCY and Oklahoma’s State Department of Education stated that giving people with autism directions and demonstrating their task can help them remarkably (Special Education Guide). Other ways we help is learning what the disorder is to not make them feel like outcasts. Educating yourself doesn’t only help them, but it helps you because you are able to help them (Help Guide). Learning something new is always nice, especially if it can help others. Make sure to know one’s sensory sensitivities (Help Guide). This will prevent them from acting in a bad behavior. When someone has good behavior, give them a reward (Help Guide). Doing so, it will show that if they continue to act this way, they will get something and their behavior could change into a good behavior. Another way is accepting who the person is. No one wants to feel like they aren’t accepted into our society. It may get hard at helping someone with autism or any disabilities in general, but all we have to do is keep going (Help Guide). If we give up, those who have a disorder may feel like there’s no one who is by their side. Lastly, make time to have fun with them (Help Guide). Every child deserves to live a happy and fun life by doing activities most kids do. Not only should children with autism feel safe and accepted at home, but at school too. Kids should know about these information because we are likely to see people with autism, so we should have the knowledge on what it is or any disabilities are. Schools should spend more time informing students about these information and educating us about the real world. We as students should expose ourselves to those who have a disability. We can’t be reclusive and act like people with these disorders aren’t there. I spend a lot of time with the unified club at the Monticello High School and I help a lot with Special Olympics Minnesota. I see that people of all ages are happy to see the mix of special and general education. They are able to be who they are and be accepted for it because we live with inclusion and acceptance. We we become unified, people with a disability can learn by example. If we act with good behavior, they may act like us because they aspire what we do. Sometimes it does get hard, but we just have to find a way to connect with them by interacting with them with objects they are interested in. Some more information about autism that could change your way of thinking and help those who may have this disorder or another type. ASD is in all race and ethnic groups and boys are more likely to develop a type of disability (National). Since 2002 to 2010, the amount of people with autism increased 6-15% each year (Society). Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability because in 2000, only 1 in 150 people have autism, but it has increased by 119.4%, increasing the probability of developing it to 1 in 68 in 2010 (Society). More than 3.5 million Americans have some sort of autism spectrum disorder (Society). ASD is 1% of the world population (Society). People who have autism with an intellectual disability, it can cost up to $2.4 million for lifelong care, and those who don’t have an intellectual disability, it can cost about $1.4 million (Society). In June 2014, 19.3% Americans with autism participate in labor force, so they are either working or look for a job, an 12.9% of them are unemployed (Society). Learning about autism can go a long way because it can help multiple people feel better about themselves. Educating ourselves can go a long way for someone. We will be informed about who they are and won’t be surprised with who they are. Surrounding ourselves with those who have a disability, we make them feel less like an outcast. They get to make a new friend and get to be who they are without being judged. We need to be accepting, inclusive, and live unified in our society. Embrace the differences.