Autism Speaks defines austim as, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.”

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States (Autism Speaks).

Autism Speaks states that, “Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life.”

Learn the signs or “red flags” of autism from Autism Speaks:

-No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter

-No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months

-No babbling by 12 months

-No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months

-No words by 16 months

-No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months

-Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

Did you know …

*Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
*Autism prevalence figures are growing
*Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
*Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
*Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
*There is no medical detection or cure for autism

(Autism Speaks)


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