Autism Info and Facts
Becoming a parent is scary.....scary in many ways. As a new mother of a boy I worry everyday if he is develping "on target" or if I need to be worried. One concern of mine is autism. An unknown cause and no cure is a life changing event I can only wish and pray will not happen to my family. Here is some good info on autism.
There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus neuro-typical children. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including the link between heredity, genetics and medical problems. In many families, there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities, further supporting a genetic basis to the disorder.
Other researchers are investigating the possibility that under certain conditions, a cluster of unstable genes may interfere with brain development, resulting in autism. Still other researchers are investigating problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors, such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances, and exposure to environmental chemicals.
Autism tends to occur more frequently than expected among individuals who have certain medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU). Some harmful substances ingested during pregnancy also have been associated with an increased risk of autism.
Research indicates that other factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the rise in increasing occurrences of ASD, such as environmental toxins (e.g., heavy metals such as mercury), which are more prevalent in our current environment than in the past.
Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
Difficulty in expressing needs, using gestures or pointing instead of words
Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
Laughing (and/or crying) for no apparent reason
Preference to being alone
Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled
Little or no eye contact
Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
Sustained odd play
Obsessive attachment to objects
No real fears of danger
Uneven gross/fine motor skills
Non-responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf, although hearing tests in normal range
Stats....Did you Know???
Autism now affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys
Autism prevalence figures are growing
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 medical detection or cure for autism
1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.
Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.
The cost of autism over the lifespan is 3.2 million dollars per person.
If you think your child may have autism, call your doctor.