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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Autism - Definition and Facts

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Autism - Developmental disability that comes from a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. It is characterized by the abnormal development of communication skills, social skills, and reasoning. Males are affected four times as often as females. Children may appear normal until around the age of 30 months. (source)
  • 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with autism
  • 67 children are diagnosed per day
  • A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism

There is no known reason for autism and no cure at this time. There are some medications and therapy options but they can be quite expensive and most insurances do not offer coverage.

Parents of autistic children can get quite discouraged knowing there are some treatment programs and medication that could help their child cope a bit better but it is out of their financial reach.

Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention can lead to significantly improved outcomes. With the right services and supports, people with autism can live full, healthy and meaningful lives. (source)

Scientists at top universities are conducting gene research to find answers to this puzzling disorder. Researchers are looking into early diagnosis and early intervention as well as environmental triggers of autism.

  • researchers are testing a computer-assisted program that would help autistic children interpret facial expressions
  • a brain imaging study is investigating areas of the brain that are active during obsessive/repetitive behaviors in adults and very young children with autism
  • other imaging studies are searching for brain abnormalities that could cause impaired social communication in children with autism
  • clinical studies are testing the effectiveness of a program that combines parent training and medication to reduce the disruptive behavior of children with autism and other ASDs


How Autism is diagnosed

Myths about Autism

Early signs of Autism

Common signs of Autism

Links about Autism

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Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

I had no idea that boys are four times more likely than girls to have this, and that ins. does not always cover the meds.!!

Dawn said...

I didn't know that more kids would be diagnosed with autism than AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined!! Wow!!

Trisha said...

Wow, some startling information!

baglady said...

I am an occupational therapist and I work with many autistic children. It is a heart-breaking disability for families. Thank-you for your blogs on autism, the helpful links and increasing public knowledge. Nancy