What is Autism? What comes to mind when you hear the word autism?

Some people might say “tantrums”, “loud outbursts”, or “violent”, but none of those make up an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Until you have worked with someone with ASD or personally know someone, you might have a distorted perception of the word. In my family, we have two adorable little cousins that are autistic, and that does not make them different from any of their other cousins. Gunnar is your normal 5-year-old boy, who loves cars and playing until he can’t anymore. Zoey is your typical 3-year-old little girl; she loves Paw Patrol and of course her Barbies and Disney princesses. Autism Spectrum Disorder doesn’t define who these children; it is just a little something extra that makes them even more special.

Autism is not defined by just one characteristic but by many. Autism Speak defines Autism as a “broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.” (n.d.).  According to the CDC “autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children” (n.d.) and no two cases are the same. Autism is a very broad diagnosis thus in 2013 “the American Psychiatric Association merged four distinct autism diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).” (n.d.). Some individuals with autism can function and live on their own while others may be severely challenged and require assistance for everyday things.  

Recreation therapy can help an individual with Autism feel like the belong. Since Autism can have a hinder on their social skills, recreation therapy can help them over come that. Recreation therapy can be very important for someone with autism because it can draw on opportunities “to practice social skills, physical aptitude and increase motivation” (n.d.) which in turn increases self confidence in the individual! There are so many wonderful benefits that recreation therapy can have on an individual with Autism, that it blows your mind why this isn’t advocated more. Autism Speaks has listed these benefits of Recreation Therapy:

It is so important to remember not to label these individuals. There is nothing wrong with them, and no one should ever make a parent feel like their child is a burden because they have this diagnosis. An individual with Autism is special because they see life and do life in a more extraordinary way than we do.


Recreation. Retrieved from

What Is Autism? Retrieved from

Leyla Shaath

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