Autism 101: The Latest Findings

More children than ever before – one in 88 in the United States – are identified as autistic, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are higher for boys, with 1 in 54 affected. Diagnosed cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have increased 23 percent since 2009. A recent government health survey indicates one in 50 school-age kids might be affected by ASD. In short, autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. The risk factors for autism and its underlying causes are a significant research focus for the CDC.
“An autism spectrum diagnosis has a huge impact both emotionally and financially on families,” says Kimberly Dick, director of field development for Autism Speaks in Georgia. She has a 7-year-old son on the autism spectrum, so “I know how important early diagnosis is and how critical it is to find support and resources.”
Our roundup offers just a sampling of recent news relating to autism – and support resources for parents.
 

Click here for the full story and more information.

 

The latest findings

Six things researchers know about autism that they didn’t know a year ago:

1

Quality early intervention for autism not only improves behaviors, it can improve brain function.

2

Being nonverbal at age 4 does not mean children with autism will never speak. Most will use words, and nearly half will speak fluently.

3

Though autism tends to be lifelong, some children make so much progress through early intervention that they no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for autism.

4

Many younger siblings of autistic children need early intervention, though they may have developmental delays that fall short of an autism diagnosis.

5

It’s common for children with autism to wander or bolt; it is not a result of careless parenting.

6

 

Prenatal folic acid, taken in the weeks before and after a woman becomes pregnant, may reduce the risk of autism.
 

by Julie Bookman and Amanda Miller Allen
Source: Autism Speaks. Find more information at autismspeaks.org/node/220456