As published on Miss Millennia Magazine.
In recent times it seems as though more children are being diagnosed with autism and, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this observation seems to be true. 1 in 88 American children are diagnosed as being on the spectrum, and out of those figures, boys are commonly associated four out of five times than their female counterparts. In the U.S. two million individuals are diagnosed and tens of millions fall within the spectrum worldwide. The 10 to 17 percent increase in rates however is suspected to be a result of research conducted and by improved diagnosis and awareness.
The month of April was dedicated by the Autism Society as National Autism Awareness Month in the 1970s, and continues to be recognized today. The Autism Society aims to continue to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness. This month is a great opportunity to educate the public about this developmental disability, as well as the issues that the community faces.
What is Autism?
The recent flood of research has highlighted that there is no one type or cause of autism. Most cases appear to be caused by a combination of risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development, but with early intervention and treatment, many individuals live full independent lives while still identifying on the spectrum.
What is the “Autism Spectrum”?
Every person with autism is in fact unique, and with that comes a variety of different talents and abilities. The majority of those individuals on the spectrum have exceptional abilities in music, visual and academic skills. Others may have significant disability and are unable to live independently, and 25 percent of individuals with ASD are nonverbal, but they can learn to communicate using other means. About 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities, but the majority of individuals on the spectrum take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and “atypical” ways of viewing the world.
What Can You Do This April?
Try catching up with some literature such as 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition by Veronica Zysk. Another great book to read is Autism – What Do You Need To Know? A Parent’s Guide To Autism Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments. DSM-5 Ready by Raymond Le Blanc. You can also participate in local Autism Society events throughout the month of April and educate yourself through further research.