Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder affecting almost 1 out of every 110 children in America. The cause for the disorder remains relatively unknown. Autism-spectrum disorders include autism, pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger's syndrome. Asperger's syndrome is relatively rare, affecting only 3 out of every 10,000 people. People tend to live in fear of an autism diagnosis for their children, mostly because they are not informed of the facts. Learning what autism is and what it isn't can help parents ease concerns they may have regarding this developmental disorders.
Quick Facts About Autism
Fragile X Syndrome is one known genetic mutation responsible for some cases of autism. Some research suggests that autism may occur during the development of a fetus's brain, causing an interruption in normal growth. However, these are only speculations as there is not any concrete evidence that supports this theory as of this writing. Parents are often wracked with guilt upon hearing that their child is autistic, but there is no basis for assuming that parental behavior has any influence on whether or not a child is autistic.
Possible Causes and Treatment Facts
While researchers and physicians still do not know all the definitive causes of autism, there are several facts about autism that are known. These include the following:
- Autism is one of the most common developmental disabilities occurring in children, along with ADHD, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.
- The CDC notes over one percent of people are currently diagnosed with autism in the United States.
- Autism is diagnosed in seven boys to every one girl for every 1,000 children (based on CDC data for the state of Florida)
- Autism occurs in one out of every 110 births.
- Autism typically begins before the age of three years old.
- Doctors may prescribe psychotropic medications to help with symptoms of autism, such as depression and hyperactivity, but these medications are not a cure.
- Autism affects all races and socioeconomic classes.
- Applied behavioral analysis is the only proven therapy shown effective to help children with autism.
- The cost of autism for the United States is over $35 billion each year (at time of publication), and that figure is expected to rise over the next 10 years.
Children who are diagnosed early and enter into rigorous treatment programs have the greatest chance for success, even for the symptoms of autism to essentially disappear. This does not mean they are cured but would be described as asymptomatic. Parents may utilize a variety of different therapy techniques, as autism treatment is not a one-size-fits-all fix (similar to diagnosis). ABA, pivotal response therapy, Dr. Greenspan's Floortime and a gluten-casein free diet are all therapies families can explore in treating an autistic diagnosis.
Get More Information
The statistics are staggering as more and more children are diagnosed with autism. As more information is discovered, the facts about autism will continue to change. There are many support groups that continue to be involved in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of autism, including the following:
- Autism Society of America
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders
- Global Autism Collaboration
- Autism Speaks
Autism research continues and it is important to stay on top of the latest developments. Practice learning about autism as part of the treatment plan and use the many resources available to you and your family.