Did you know…
… Autism can be detected early in infants as young as 12 to 18 months?
As we all know, the symptoms of autism can vary from one individual to another. A diagnosis is typically done by the age of 2 years, but early symptoms may be evident in some children. Examples of such symptoms include avoidance of eye contact, delayed speech and language skills, etc. Professionals, however, will not attempt to make a definite ‘stable’ diagnosis until 18 to 24 months, because the symptoms can continue to emerge or even fade away (McCarthy, 2019).
Research has shown that early intervention is key in assisting children with autism in learning, communication, acquiring functional skills and in their overall development. As such, it is important to screen children for developmental delays throughout childhood so that early signs can be evaluated to help them receive the necessary support early.
… How amazing individuals with autism are?
As mentioned in our previous articles titled “5 reasons why you should be proud of your child with autism” and “Positive traits about people with autism”, I would like to share some examples I found through my research.
As someone who works closely with individuals with autism and as an avid fan of Pokémon (also known as pocket monsters in Japan), I was amazed when I found out that the creator of the franchise, Mr. Satoshi Taijiri, has autism. He was fascinated with bugs, constantly on the go to catch them and study their behaviours. This strong interest, overlapping with his later interest in video games, eventually led to the game many of us know and love, Pokémon.
Another incredible individual with autism is Doctor Temple Grandin. When she was diagnosed as a child, it was recommended to institutionalise her, and she only began speaking at the age of four years old with the support of her speech therapist. Currently, however, she is a designer of livestock-handling facilities, a professor at Colorado State University, and a prolific author. Her first book titled “Emergence: Labeled Autistic” is widely known as an insight into the life and thoughts of an individual with autism.
Fun fact: Doctor Temple Grandin also invented the “hug box” device which is used to help calm individuals with autism. She mentioned that deep pressure can lead to an overall calming effect to help settle 'overstimulated nerves'. As such, she still uses it on a regular basis to provide herself with the necessary deep pressure to cope with her anxiety.
… Individuals with autism can show and receive affection?
One misconception that people have about individuals with autism is that they are not able to show, give or receive affection. Although they may appear to be detached, it does not mean they lack interest in being affectionate. Moreover, their affectionate side can also be undermined by their desire to engage in other interests, pursuits, or often for them, sensory satisfaction through stimming motions. Secondly, they might not understand the purpose of conventional ways of showing affection (examples include hugging, high fives, etc.) and may need to be taught.
Individuals with autism can and do show affection, but their way of expressing it may differ from the conventional ways. Due to their responses to sensory stimuli, some children with autism may be aversive to touch or hugs. However, there are so many other ways to show affection. As parents or caregivers, you spend the most time with the child. It will take a period of trial and error to find out your child’s preferences. He or she might enjoy simply holding hands, singing and dancing together or even a light pat on the head over a hug.
I hope you enjoyed learning about these fun facts about autism - early detection of autism, amazing individuals with autism and how they show and receive affection. If you would like to know more, I have included some links in the reference list below. Feel free to drop a comment if you have an enquiry or would like to share some fun facts not mentioned here.
Written by Winnie.
Ameridisability. (2018). How Satoshi Tajiri, a game designer with autism, created an international phenomenon. Retrieved from:
Edelson, S. M. (n.d.). Temple Grandin’s ‘hug machine’. Retrieved from:
Hirschberg, E. (2018). To hug or not to hug: navigating asd social interactions. Retrieved from:
Liberatore, S. (2016, June 21). The $35,000 hugging machine that can help calm autism sufferers Daily Mail. Retrieved from:
McCarthy, C. (2019). How early can you — and should you — diagnose autism? Retrieved from:
Wright, J. (2019). Autism diagnosis may be possible as early as age 14 months. Retrieved from: