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Twenty Facts About Autism You’ll Want to Know
Since the founding of Autism Speaks in 2005, the organization has helped the nation and the world to better understand autism and better ways to treat the condition. Here are some facts about autism that Autism Speaks has brought to the fore:
1. The number of people diagnosed with autism has grown rapidly in the last 10 years.
In 2005, the number of people diagnosed with autism was only one in 166. Ten years later, the number of people who were diagnosed with the condition had grown to one in 68, more than a 100% increase in last decades.
2. Direct screening studies suggest that the number of people with autism may be higher than one in 68.
In a recent study conducted in South Korea, researchers funded by Autism Speaks discovered that all 38 children had autism. Most of these children have not been diagnosed before this study. The organization is now negotiating with the CDC in the United States to carry out a similar study using direct screening in US classrooms.
3. Reliable diagnoses of autism in children can be made from the age of two.
Early diagnosis and subsequent intervention can improve outcomes. Autism Speaks is making early screening available to more people, especially among communities that have been underserved in years past.
4. With high-quality early intervention, a child’s brain development and brain activity can improve over time.
Because there is a degree of plasticity in the brain, the earlier the intervention, the better the chance that it will have a positive impact on the development of the brain. On a practical level, such interventions help reduce the need—and the subsequent cost—of extensive behavioral and educational support during childhood.
5. For people with autism, behavioral therapy can change their lives for the better.
Research shows solid evidence of the benefits of behavioral therapy. With this evidence, Autism Speaks was able to push new laws in 38 states that require health coverage to pay for the costs of behavioral therapy for people with autism. Those people and their families, once denied the necessary treatment, are now making progress.
6. About a third of people with autism are non-verbal.
Therefore, Autism Speaks supports the research and development of new devices to help these people communicate. The organization has donated these assistive communication devices to many thousands of families affected by autism.
7. Assistive communication devices can encourage speech in many non-verbal children.
Research sponsored by Autism Speaks found that some children with autism who have not spoken since the age of 5 do not necessarily remain non-verbal for the rest of their lives. Some can learn to speak and assistive devices help them with this process.
8. Gastrointestinal problems related to autism are real.
Research carried out by the Autism Treatment Network discovered that 50% of children affected by autism have gastrointestinal disorders of various kinds. In fact, pain from these disorders can cause behavioral symptoms to worsen. Autism Speaks has created treatment guidelines for pediatricians who treat children with autism, as well as tools for parents to use to address these issues experienced by their children.
9. Sleep disorders are common in people with autism.
Although sleep disorders are common in individuals with autism, they are treatable. Autism Speaks has sponsored research that has provided evidence-based toolkits for parents to help their children overcome these disorders. They also provided medical guidelines for clinicians treating sleep disorders in people with autism.
10. Epilepsy occurs in almost a third of people with autism.
Although they have the potential to be dangerous, not all seizures are obvious to the untrained eye. Special testing is essential in autism healthcare to rule out epilepsy in people affected by autism.
11. Autism can be a healthy condition of the body.
Because people with autism have an increased incidence of sleep disturbances, GI disorders and epilepsy, Autism Speaks recommends that doctors use the “whole person approach” when providing health care to people with autism.
12. Personalized treatment can now be guided with the help of whole genome sequencing.
U MSSNG The program sponsored by Autism Speaks has changed the future of autism treatment. By sequencing the genome on thousands of families affected by the condition, researchers receive actionable information that can help develop new, more targeted medications for autism.
13. The environment plays a significant role in the cause of autism.
A few years ago, experts thought that autism was entirely hereditary. After more research, the Autism Genetic Resource Exchangea branch of Autism Speaks, found that non-hereditary influences contribute to half of a child’s risk of developing autism.
14. Research has identified a few environmental factors that can cause autism.
If a mother had an infection or was exposed to air pollution during her pregnancy, the risk of her child developing autism increases. Expectant mothers who take prenatal vitamins before conception and continue taking them after becoming pregnant can reduce their child’s risk of developing autism.
15. Almost 50% of people with autism have a tendency to wander or wander.
Autism Speaks funds programs to prevent people with autism from wandering or loosing. Also educate the first responders about these trends in people affected by autism.
16. Bullying affects almost two-thirds of children who have autism.
Together with the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Autism Speaks has raised awareness of bullying children who have special needs.
17. Eighty-four percent of adults with autism still live in their parents’ homes.
Autism Speaks called on government officials, both federal and state, to enact policies that would provide more options for living arrangements for adults affected by autism.
18. Nearly half of 25-year-old adults struggling with autism have never held regular paid work.
In collaboration with employers and educators, Autism Speaks continues to advocate for more support for young adults with autism in vocational and post-secondary institutions, as well as for employment opportunities for them after graduation.
19. Each year, 50,000 teenagers either graduate from high school or become too old to receive school services for autism.
Autism Speaks works with private and public institutions to support individuals with autism as they make the transition to adulthood. With their support, these individuals can share their many valuable gifts with their communities.
20. The cost faced by families affected by autism in a person’s life is usually between $1.4 million to $2.4 million.
Depending on whether the person with autism also has an intellectual disability, these costs can increase or decrease. Early diagnosis and quality interventions, along with support as people with autism make the transition to adulthood, can help lower these costs considerably.
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