Saturday, April 2, 2011

April is Autism Awareness Month

What is autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disability which primarily affects a person's ability in social interaction and communication. Autism is known as a spectrum disorder, because it affects each individual in different ways and to varying degrees. 

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the autism prevalence rate is much higher than originally thought (1 in 150). According to the study, autism affects 1 in 91 children. And 1 in 58 boys, totaling an estimated 673,000 or approximately 1% of all children in the United States. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention October, 2009).

A federal study made public in early 2007 found New Jersey had the highest rate of autism ever recorded in the United States of one in 94 children, and one in 60 boys.

Overall, the incidence of autism is four times more common in boys than in girls and typically appears during the first 3 years of life. Children and adults with autism tend to have difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communications, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.

Autism is one of the most heritable neurodevelopmental disorders. If one identical twin has it, so will the other in nearly 9 out of 10 cases. If one sibling has the disorder, the other siblings run a 35-fold greater-than-normal risk of having it. Source: National Institutes of Health
A recent Harvard School of Public Health study puts the lifetime cost to care for a person with autism at $3.2 million, and the cost for caring for all persons with the affliction at $35 billion per year.

More Autism Awareness Facts

As stated by the Autism Society of America:
  • Every day 60 American families are told they have a child with autism.
  • As many as one out of every 150 babies born will have autism.
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States
  • Autism is growing at an alarming rate of 10 to 17 percent each and every year in America.
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined.
  • One in 150 children with autism are now 14 and older.
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the public funding contributed each year to fight all major childhood diseases.
  • 1.5 million Americans have some form of autism spectrum disorder.
  • Autism costs America an estimated $90 billion annually.
  • The cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.
  • In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion.

What causes autism?

There is no single known cause for autism. However, it is generally agreed that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans have shown differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism when compared to those without the condition. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including a link between heredity, genetics, birth-related medical problems and environmental factors. Psychological factors are not believed to be the cause of autism. 

How is autism treated?

Experts agree that early intervention is important in addressing the symptoms associated with autism. Most professionals also agree that individuals with autism respond well to highly structured, specialized education programs that are designed to meet the individual's particular needs. 

In any treatment plan, it is important for family members and treatment providers to address areas of social skill development, communication, behavior, and sensory integration.

According to the late Dr. Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., founder and director of the Autism Research Institute more progress has been made in the development of effective autism treatments in the last several years than in the past 3 decades. The Defeat Autism Now! (DAN) approach is based on nutritional and biomedical strategies. These include investigating metabolism issues, special diets, approaches for improving digestion, treating intestinal disorders and inflammation, using nutritional supplements and detoxification.

Generation Rescue is a non-profit parent organization which also provides good information on autism treatment and detoxification.

Disparities in Autism

Studies show disparities among African Americans with autism and other disabiilties, which call for our immediate attention to ensure all persons with autism live up to their full potential. 

African Americans living with autism need family members, professionals and advocates to take a stand on this important issue on their behalf. Disparities in health and special education must be included as a major part of our autism awareness message.

Our loved ones can be negatively affected throughout their lifespan if disparities in early diagnosis and treatment, health, special education and the criminal justice system are allowed to persist.

Disparities Among African Americans with Autism is an article which may help to open the dialogue on some challenging issues our loved ones could face. As well as ideas for some first-steps to action parents, families and caregivers can take to help overturn them.

In Celebration of Autism Awareness

On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution of the Third Committee designating April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day for eternity, starting in 2008. Autism Awareness Month is celebrated nationally every year in April, providing an opportunity for families, friends, and local communities to raise public awareness. It is sponsored by the Autism Society of America.

Autism Awareness Fundraisers

Reportedly, every 21 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism. And most of the autism population is under age 21. There is an urgency for us to spread autism awareness to help raise the necessary funding for services, research and treatment. 

There are plenty of things that you can do to raise lots of money. You have to ask people for their support. Just tell them how important it is to you that we raise funds for medical research for autism and ask for their participation.

Start a letter writing campaign! Letter writing is the fastest, easiest and most effective way to raise money. Write one letter and send it to everyone in your address book. Send a letter to your Christmas card list, to your co-workers, to your children’s classmates, and to your doctors and therapists. Just think how much money you could raise if everyone on your lists gave you $20 or $50 – even $1!

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Blog Widget by LinkWithin