What is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the brain's functioning. It typically appears during the first two years of life and impacts development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.
There are five Autism Spectrum Disorders:
- Asperger Syndrome
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specifed (PDD-NOS),
- Rett's Disorder
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
- Both children and adults on the Autism Spectrum typically show difficulties in both verbal and non-verbal communication, in social interactions and in leisure or play activities.
- Autism once affected an estimated 1 in 110 births (Center for Disease Control Prevention, 2007). A recent study, however, now puts this figure at 1 in 88 births, and that 1 in 54 boys are affected.
- More than 1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism.
- Autism is growing at the alarming rate of 10-17% per year (U.S. government).
- The Autism Society estimates that the number of Americans with autism could reach 4 million within 10 years.
- More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. (Autism Society of Connecticut)
- Autism knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries, family income levels, lifestyle choices or educational levels. It can affect any family and any child.
- Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.
- There is no medical detection or cure for autism.