The Facts About Autism: What You Need to Know
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the world. More people have been diagnosed with autism in recent years, increasing the need for more awareness and understanding of this disorder. Read on to learn the facts about autism and discover what you can do to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals with autism.
What is autism?
Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that starts in childhood and continues throughout a person’s life. It impacts how an individual communicates, behaves, and interacts with others. Because it is a spectrum disorder, impairments can range from mild to very severe.
What causes autism?
There is no one cause of autism, but research suggests it can develop from a variety of influences including infections, genetic abnormalities and syndromes, metabolic disorders, brain abnormalities, or substances and medications taken by the mother during pregnancy. Autism is not caused by vaccines or bad parenting. Signs of autism usually appear by age two or three, and in some cases, children can be diagnosed as early as 18 months.
How prevalent is autism?
The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last 20 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 59 U.S. children is diagnosed with autism. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. This disorder affects people from all walks of life and all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Is there a cure?
There is no “cure” for autism, but it can be treated. Early interventions, therapies, and assistive technologies can greatly improve learning, communication, and social skills.
What can I do?
Now that you’ve learned these facts about autism, share them with others! Explore additional resources to learn more and spend time with an individual with autism if possible. Check out our tips for interacting with someone with autism. If you’re a prent, monitor your child’s development and make sure you can recognize the signs of autism.