It’s Autism Acceptance Month – A Few Interesting Facts!

By now, unless you are hiding under a cool, shaded rock, you probably already know that April is Autism Awareness Acceptance Month. And you may already know that Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the United States. But did you know it is also the most underfunded?

I have three daughters that are on the Autism Spectrum, so I have read many interesting articles on Autism.  Here are two lists of facts you may already know and some you may not that might interest you.

A Few Things You Should Know About Autism

  1. It’s estimated that Autism affects 1 in 68 children worldwide. However, a recent study suggests it could be more like 1 in 36 children in the United States. Autism affects children of all ethnic, racial and socio-economic groups.
  2. Approximately 100 people are diagnosed with Autism every single day in the United States. It is one of the fastest developing disorders in the US. It is more common than childhood cancer, AIDS and diabetes -all combined!
  3. Autism is diagnosed more often in boys, estimated at 1 in 42 boys, versus 1 in 189 girls.
  4. There are strong genetic links to Autism as well as mutations to chromosome 16.
  5. There is no medical cure nor is there a medical test to detect Autism.
  6. However, there are behavioral tests to determine a diagnosis.
  7. Vaccines, in particular, the MMR vaccine, do not cause Autism, even though approximately 20% of the U.S. population still believes this is true. The World Health Organization actually stated “people who choose not to vaccinate” as a global health threat in 2019.
  8. Early intervention is key – the earlier a child receives a diagnosis and treatment, the better their prognosis.  Therefore, symptoms can improve vastly.
  9. The most used therapies for Autism include Applied Behavior Analysis, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Social Skills Groups.
  10. Mozart, Isaac Newton, Andy Warhol, and Albert Einstein are all believed to have had Autism.

Surprising and Interesting Facts about Autism

  1. The word “Autism” comes from the Greek word “autos” meaning self, and literally means “alone.”
  2. The term Autism was first used by Dr. Bleuler in 1911 to describe schizophrenic symptoms. In the 1940’s Dr. Kanner used the term to describe withdrawn children and created a more modern understanding of the disorder.
  3. In infancy, a baby can begin to show three hallmark symptoms of Autism: (1) challenges with all communication, (2) social interaction impairments, and (3) repetitive behaviors.
  4. Some debate whether Autism is actually a disability at all, and think is a different kind of personality in itself.
  5. For reasons unknown, New Jersey has the highest rate of Autism in the U.S.
  6. Not too surprising it’s expensive to care for someone with a disability over a lifetime. Caring for a person with autism over a lifetime can range from $1.4 to $2.2 million. However, with early intervention and treatments, studies suggest that cost can be cut nearly in half!
  7. Sadly, compared to others their same age, people with Autism are 2 to 5 times more likely to die – either from other health conditions or accidents.
  8. Chelation therapy (removal of mercury and other heavy metals from the body) is a popular alternative treatment for Autism. However, there are no studies to prove to be safe or effective.
  9. People with Autism are especially vulnerable to bullying.  Approximately two-thirds of Autistic children have experienced bullying. More than half of bullying that occurs to children with Autism is stopped by a peer who intervenes who shows Autism Awareness AND Acceptance. 

  10. Autism may begin before birth. Although no one knows what causes Autism, most experts agree that there is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that increase a child’s risk of developing Autism. There is also emerging evidence that babies begin to develop Autism in the womb.

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