In honor of Autism Awareness Month I’d like to do a two-part series on Autism. Today’s blog will serve as an introduction to the topic for those who are not familiar. Next week, I will share an interview with a mother of an autistic child who has become near and dear to my heart over the past three years I’ve known their family.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectral Disorder (ASD) is part of a range of cognitive disorders in which a person has difficulty communicating and building relationships. Autism can be associated with intellectual disability, lack of motor control and physical health issues. However many children with ASD tend to excel in visual skills, music, art, and math. Autism appears to be a developmental brain disorder but symptoms are not evident until around age three. The CDC has identified that 1 in 88 American children are somewhere on the ASD spectrum. Recent numbers are more like 1 in 50!
There are an estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls diagnosed with Autism in the U.S.
What Causes Autism?
Scientist have identified a number of genes and genetic mutations that are associated with Autism. These genes combined with environmental factors influencing early brain development have been named as the official cause of Autism. The only prevention at this time is for women to take prenatal vitamins and eat plenty of foods containing folic acid during the months before, during and after conception. Folic acid has been proven to prevent neural tube defects and protect the developing brain of the fetus.
Facts about Autism
- The number of children diagnosed with Autism is growing
- Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S.
- Boys are five times more likely than girls to have Autism
- There is not screening for Autism
- There is currently no cure
The Little Things You Can Do Today
- Visit www.autismspeaks.org to find out more information and ways in which you can help.
- Light It Up Blue in your community. Find a local Light It Up Blue event in your area to attend or simply burn a blue light on your porch this month.
- Donate! There are not a lot of research dollars allocated for Autism research and so donations are crucial for continued research. Support organizations that give a portion of their proceeds to Autism research or donate directly.
- Be a support to a family with an autistic child in whatever way you can.
Until Next Week,
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, P.T.
- The 12 Myths Of Autism (beyondautismawareness.wordpress.com)
- Risk Factors for Autism in Children (everydayfamily.com)
- Folic acid lowers risk of autism (prn.fm)
- How To Play With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (paramuspost.com)