Q&A: Autism Society of North Carolina answers questions about living with autism

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Watch ABC11's interview with David Laxton, the Autism Society of North Carolina's communications director or read the information he shared with us, below:

Q: What is autism and the signs?

"Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a group of developmental disabilities that are typically associated with challenges of varying severity in the areas of social interaction, communication, and repetitive/restricted behaviors. Autism is a brain disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life. Learn more about statistics on autism in North Carolina and around the country at https://www.autismsociety-nc.org/signs-statistics/"

Q: How has the pandemic impacted the families of those with autism?

"There have been challenges and opportunities. Challenges include understanding what COVID is and the many changes and disruptions it has caused. There has also been isolation, difficulty with change of routine, education, etc. and concerns related to staying healthy. Opportunities we have seen are increases in sharing information and perspectives in different ways (remote learning and online support meetings/trainings) and in our employment supports program. Many adults who have been looking for jobs were able to secure and thrive during the pandemic."

Q: What are some of the strengths and challenges of living with autism?

"Autism is a spectrum disorder and each person is unique, with unique abilities and interests as well as challenges. Strengths can include an extremely focused and organized approach to work and life. On the flip side some autistic adults have shared that navigating a world where the rules of social interactions are not always clear is challenging because of the need for clear rules. Those are two examples."

Q: What are some of the resources to help parents and children?

"Our organization is a lifespan organization. We have staff and volunteers and autistic adults who are part of our community here to provide support, information, encouragement and experience about the journey. Our autism resource specialists serve all 100 counties and are parents of loved ones with autism. No one is alone."

Q: How can someone support a loved one or friend with autism?

"Understand we are all different and unique. Encourage them to connect with our community (https://www.autismsociety-nc.org/contact-us/). Take extra time to be understanding and meet them where they are, and finally, celebrate accomplishments and all that we bring to each other.

"Our website has a wealth of information that covers these questions and more. That URL is https://autismsociety-nc.org."
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.