Autism awareness

The USPS Health and Wellness team wants to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a group of developmental disorders that affect social, communication and behavioral skills.

Characteristics of ASD may include repetitive movements or behaviors; difficulty relating to people, things and events; trouble with communication; and difficulty adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings or changes in routine.

Some individuals have mild symptoms, while others experience symptoms that are severe.

ASD can be diagnosed at any age, but it usually begins during childhood by age 2 and generally lasts throughout a person’s life.

ASD is often more common in boys than girls. Individuals with ASD also display many talents, including strong visual and auditory learning; remembering details and people; and success with math, science, music and arts.

There is no medical test to diagnose ASD, but doctors can reliably evaluate a series of behavioral, emotional and developmental skills. Although there is no cure, early intervention and treatment services can improve development throughout life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health websites have more information.

The Health and Wellness team’s September newsletter, available on the Wellness Toolkit site, also has more information.

Share your feedback at  Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.