FACTS ABOUT AUTISM:
• Autism now affects 1 in 68 children; 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls
• Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S.
• Autism costs a family, on average $60,000 a year
• There is no medical detection or cure for autism
• In the United States the cost of autism over an individual’s lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability, or $1.4 million for a person without intellectual disability
WHAT IS AUTISM?
According to the Autism Society Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.
SOME SIGNS TO LOOK FOR IN CHILDREN:
• Lack of or delay in spoken language
• Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
• Little or no eye contact
• Lack of interest in peer relationships
• Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
• Persistent fixation on parts of objects