What is Autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Most parents notice this disorder in children in the first couple years of their life. Autism is highly heritable, but the cause includes both environmental factors and genetic susceptibility. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects.
Signs of Autism:
As early as infancy, a baby with ASD may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time. Children with an ASD may fail to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people. Autistic children have an unusual focus on pieces (younger children with autism often focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy). They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior. Many children with an ASD engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging. They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.” Children with an ASD don’t know how to play interactively with other children. Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.
Children with characteristics of an ASD may have co-occurring conditions, including Fragile X syndrome (which causes intellectual disability), tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder. About 20 to 30 percent of children with an ASD develop epilepsy by the time they reach adulthood.
- no babbling or pointing by age 1
- no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
- no response to name
- loss of language or social skills
- poor eye contact
- excessive lining up toys or objects
- no smiling or social responsiveness
- impaired ability to make friends with peers
- impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
- absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
- stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
- restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
- preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
- inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
Click on each subject title for specific tips and resources on how fitness, sleep and nutrition can make big differences and significantly improve the lives of children and adults with autism!
Autism can't be cured but can be improved with treatment and age. Treatments include educational/behavioral interventions, medications, and other therapies.
*Community Walk events
Walk City Date Location
Edmonton Sunday, September 13, 2015 Rundle Park
*Kimberley Saturday, April 25, 2015 Rails to Trails Rotary Park
*Kitimat Sunday, April 26, 2015 Kitimat Child Development Centre
*Courtenay Saturday, May 2, 2015 Airpark
*Kelowna Sunday, September 20, 2015 Waterfront Park, Rhapsody Plaza
Vancouver, (Burnaby) Sunday, September 27, 2015 Swangard Stadium, Central Park Prince Rupert Coming in 2016
Ottawa Sunday, May 31, 2015 Carleton University Fieldhouse
Waterloo-Wellington Sunday, May 31, 2015 Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex Toronto Sunday, June 21, 2015 Earl Bales Park
London Sunday, June 21, 2015 University of Western- Community Centre *Brantford Saturday, September 26, 2015 Ryerson Heights School *Niagara Region Sunday, September 27, 2015 Brock University Issac's Bar & Grill
Montreal Sunday, May 24, 2015 McGill University Tomlinson Fieldhouse
Saskatoon Sunday, June 21, 2015 Diefenbaker Park
Virtual (Online) Anytime Anywhere
Would you like to see a Walk in your community?
You can now create a Community Walk!
Now for the first time Autism Speaks Canada is pleased to announce a new “Walk-in-a-box” program designed for families and friends to host their very-own Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada in their community. Through the incredible power of volunteers Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada will continue spreading autism awareness from coast-to-coast.
Community Walks are made up of and supported by individuals from local businesses, schools and families on a volunteer basis. Anyone with a passion to support Autism Speaks mission to support Canadians living with autism.
If you are interested in organizing a Community Walk in your city please go to our Community Walk page here.
Click here to download a Community Walk Application Form!