April is Autism Awareness Month. It is estimated that 1 in 500 children have a learning disability that falls into the autism spectrum disorder category.

"There is a whole range of developmental disabilities that can fit on the autism spectrum," explained Amber Channell, Family School Liaison Worker for St. Anthony's School.

In someone who has autism spectrum disorder you will often see difficulties present in social interaction, social relationships, communication, behavior and learning. Autism spectrum disorder may also go along with other disabilities.  

"Generally, people with autism spectrum disorders can have normal intelligence, but sometimes there is an intellectual disability that can range anywhere from mild to severe. But most of the prevelance that you see is with expressive and receptive language and communication and social relationships," said Channell.

You can sometimes start to notice signs of autism spectrum disorder as early as the first few months of a child's life. In others, symptoms may not become obvious until they are two years of age or older.

"It would be something that they are born with. It is a pervasive developmental disorder, so it is something that you are born with and you have for your entire life," advised Channell.

If you suspect that your child is showing signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, Channell suggets seeing your family doctor, and they will refer you to a specialist.

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