Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month?
Since 2004, the prevalence of Autism has nearly doubled. Today, Autism affects on average 1 in every 68 births within the United States. More specifically, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. Although there is no current single known cause of Autism, there are evidence based therapies that have been proven to be an effective treatment option. Research has shown that children with Autism may also experience co-occurring diagnoses. For instance, a child may have medical and/or mental health challenges in addition to Autism, such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and phobias.
So what is Autism? Autism, formally known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disability which generally appears beginning in early childhood. ASD may include deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication skills, deficits in social-emotional reciprocity and deficits in developing and maintaining relationships. In addition, individuals diagnosed with ASD may demonstrate repetitive behavior patterns, inflexibility to routines, or experience hyper or hypo reactivity to sensory input. Based on severity of symptoms and behaviors, an appropriate diagnosis of Autism may be applied.
A diagnosis of Autism not only affects the individual but also impacts the family unit. For many families, early detection of a diagnosis is likely to lead to more significant outcomes. Through early intervention, many individuals diagnosed with Autism at a young age are able to grow into independent adults and live a meaningful and satisfying life.
Below are great resources to learn more about Autism.