Friday 2nd April marks World Autism Awareness Day. Approximately 1% of people are autistic, meaning that they see the world a little differently. While autistic individuals may struggle with tasks involving communication, are oversensitive to external sensory stimuli, and often find sudden changes are difficult to comprehend and hence anxiety inducing. World Autism Awareness Day celebrates these differences and the positive aspects of not being neurotypical. Those on the autistic spectrum often excel at analytical tasks, due to the methodical nature of the work.
But what causes autism?
The exact cause is still unknown, as a mixture of genetic and environmental factors have been suggested to have links to autism. At MDPI, we have a number of special issues open on the topics of Autism and its potential causes. The Special Issue “Molecular Genetics of Autism and Intellectual Disability” from the International Journal of Molecular Science focuses on the genetic architecture behind Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) to uncover more about the molecular aspects of cognitive dysfunctions. We also have special issues focusing around the potential environmental causes of ASDs; Environmental Exposures and Autism Spectrum Disorders, which can be found in the Internation Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Both special issues are currently open and taking original articles and review pieces.
While understanding the cause of ASD is important, there are millions of diagnosed individuals. Diagnosis is vital in ensuring that those who do require extra support in their lives, be it through the education system or in the everyday task, get it. Diagnosis of ASD has changed dramatically over the years and they are still being updated as we begin to understand more about autism. There are multiple Special Issues on this topic, including Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Etiopathogenesis, Clinical Phenotypes, Diagnosis and Treatment, from the Journal of Clinical Medicine, and Screening, Diagnosis and Early Intervention in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders from the journal Children.
At MDPI, we are an equal opportunities employer and provide opportunities regardless of any disabilities. World autism awareness day is there to eliminate the negative stigma surrounding the neurological condition and fight the discrimination that autistic individuals face in their lives and celebrate the differences that make us all unique.