April is Autism Awareness month. Autism is a disability that affects millions of Americans worldwide. According to the Autism Society, “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.” Below facts and statistics, as well as symptoms are provided by the Autism Society.
Facts & Statistics:
- 1 percent of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder.
- Prevalence is estimated at 1 in 110 births.
- 1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.
- Fastest-growing developmental disability; 1,148% growth rate.
- 10 – 17 % annual growth.
- $60 billion annual cost.
- 60% of costs are in adult services.
- Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.
- In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion.
- 1 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom have an autism spectrum disorder.
- The cost of autism over the lifespan is 3.2 million dollars per person.
- Does not babble or coo by 12 months
- Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
- Does not say single words by 16 months
- Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
- Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age
Having any of these five “red flags” does not mean your child has autism. But because the characteristics of the disorder vary so much, a child showing these behaviors should have further evaluations by a multidisciplinary team. This team may include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant, or other professionals knowledgeable about autism.
A great way to be an active participant in Autism Awareness Month is to sign up for a walk, run, or marathon! Check your local listings for Autism Awareness events in your city.