20 facts about Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Every year the National Autistic Society (NAS) encourages the general public to take part in activities during the seven days of World Autism Awareness Week in order to raise money and awareness with campaigns like Too Much Information. Autism Awareness Day is marked on April 2 every year, World Autism Awareness Week will be from March 26 to April 2 in 2018.

In order to celebrate the Autism Awareness Week and to encourage awareness, we present 20 facts about autism. 

1. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by impairment in reciprocal social interactions and communication skills, and the presence of restricted, stereotypical behaviors.

2. In 2010 there were an estimated 52 million cases of ASDs around the world, equating to a population prevalence of 7.6 per 1000 or one in 132 persons

3. The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last twenty years. In 1980 the reported rates were about 1 in 10,000 people

4. Autism Spectrum Disorders are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).

5. ASD has been reported in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

6. Aggregated national costs of supporting children with ASDs are £3.1 billion (US $4.5 billion) per year in the United Kingdom (excluding Social Security and benefit payments, which are transfer payments and not real societal costs) and $61 billion per year in the United States.

7. About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood

8. Common symptoms of autism are delayed or absent speech, problems listening, concentrating and understanding, frequent repetition of words and phrases, taking things literally, difficulty sensing and interpreting people’s feelings, difficulty expressing feelings, over or under sensitivity to sound, touch, taste, smell or light, rituals or repetitive behaviours, disliking changes to routine, difficulty making friends and socialising.

9. Some of the co-existing conditions along with Autism Spectrum Disorder are ADHD, allergies, asthma, epilepsy, digestive disorders, persistent viral infections, feeding disorders, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeping disorders, and more

10. One of the biggest myths about autism is that it is a childhood condition but in reality, it is a lifelong condition. In fact in the UK there are more autistic adults than children.

11. Research suggests that around 28% of autistic people have special talents but the cause is unknown and certainly not all autistic children are gifted.

12. There is no cure for Autism; however, there are a number of behavioral therapies that can drastically improve how a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder acts. Behavioral therapies can include speech, occupational therapy, or applied behavioral analysis.

13. Autism Spectrum Disorder is much more likely to happen in children born to “older” parents, meaning mothers over 35 or fathers over 40.

14. Children with autism also often have sensory processing problems—unusual sensitivity to sounds, lights, textures or smells. They may be overwhelmed by too much sensory input, or be disturbed and uncomfortable because of a lack of sensory input, which they may try to get by bumping into things, and excessively touching and smelling things.

15. Autism cannot be cured at the present time, but a structured educational program and tailored therapy have been shown to help children develop skills they are lacking and minimize behaviors that are problematic.

16. Applied behavior analysis is a psychotherapeutic regimen that actively teaches and encourages desired social and communication behaviors that other children learn intuitively.

17. An approach called developmentally based intervention uses subjects, words, and stimuli to model a typical developmental progression for an a child who doesn’t develop them independently. As every child is different, other appropriate therapies may include occupational, physical, and speech-language.

18. Dogs have been shown to improve autistic children’s quality of life, independence, and safety. The presence of a trained dog can reduce aggressive behavior, calm the child, and serve as a link to the child’s community.

19. Almost half of children with ASD have average or above average IQ but still only 16% of adults with autism go on to gain employment

20. Children with ASD can learn and succeed in the classroom and beyond. Like every child, with the help of their families, providers, doctors, specialists, and communities, kids with ASD can not only survive but thrive in the society.



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