Ten facts about autism you’ll want to know


Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 and has been helping the nation and the globe better understand autism and find better treatments. Autism Speaks brought some facts to the forefront about autism:

1. Over the past 10 years, autism diagnosis has increased rapidly.

In 2005, autism was diagnosed in one in 166 people. Ten years later, one in 68 people have been diagnosed with autism, more than a 100 percent increase over the previous decade.

2. Studies of direct screening suggest that autism rates may be higher than 1 in 68.

Autism Speaks-funded researchers in South Korea discovered that one in 38 children has autism in a recent study. The majority of these children hadn’t been diagnosed before the study. Now, the organization is in negotiations with the CDC in the US for a similar study that uses direct screening in American classrooms.

3. Two years old is the ideal age to diagnose autism in children.

Early diagnosis and intervention can help improve outcomes. Autism Speaks makes early screening more accessible, especially to communities that have been less fortunate in the past.

4. A high-quality intervention can help children’s brain development and brain activity show improvements over time.

The brain is plastic and therefore intervention should be done as soon as possible to have positive effects on brain development. These interventions can be used to reduce the need for and the cost of extensive educational and behavioral support in childhood.

5. Behavioral therapy is a great option for people with autism. It can make a big difference in their lives.

Research supports the benefits of behavior therapy. Autism Speaks was able to pass new laws in 38 states mandating that autism therapy be covered by healthcare insurance. These people and their families are making progress, even though they were once denied treatment.

6. About one-third of autistic people are nonverbal.

Autism Speaks funds research and development of new communication devices for people with autism. These devices have been donated to thousands of families with autism.

7. Many children who are not verbal can be encouraged to speak with assistive communication devices.

Autism Speaks sponsored research found that children with autism who aren’t able to speak by age 5 don’t necessarily remain nonverbal forever. Many can learn to talk, and assistive devices are available to help.

8. Autism-related digestive issues are real.

Autism Treatment Network research has shown that half of autism children have gastrointestinal disorders. These disorders can lead to behavioral problems that get worse. Autism Speaks created guidelines for pediatricians treating children with autism and tools for parents to help them deal with the issues their children are experiencing.

9. Autism sufferers are more likely to have sleep disorders.

Although sleep disorders are common in autism spectrum individuals, they can be treated. Autism Speaks sponsored research that provided evidence-based tools for parents to help their kids overcome these disorders. They also provide guidelines for doctors who treat autism-related sleep disorders.

10. Nearly one-third of autistic people have epilepsy.

Although seizures can be dangerous, they are not always obvious to the untrained eye. To rule out epilepsy in autistic people, special testing is necessary in autism health care.

These costs may increase or decrease depending on whether the person with autism has an intellectual disability. These costs can be reduced by early diagnosis and quality interventions. As well as support for adults with autism transitioning into adulthood, these services can be greatly helped.

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