APRIL IS WORLD AUTISM MONTH

As many of you know, April is world autism month – giving us the opportunity to learn more about it and join advocates to support more research, family support, and increased awareness.

Rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are not creeping up so much as leaping up. In 2014, a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that one in 68 children now has a diagnosis of ASD—a 30 percent increase in just two years. In 2002, about one in 150 children was considered autistic and in 1991 the figure was one in 500.

WHAT IS AUTISM: 

According to Autism Speaks,

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.  The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED: 

These symptoms don’t mean your child has autism but are early warnings and should be part of a well-baby or well-child visit, your child’s doctor should perform a “developmental screening,” asking specific questions about your baby’s progress. These are five behaviors that warrant further evaluation:

  • Does not babble or coo by 12 months
  • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
  • Does not say single words by 16 months
  • Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
  • Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

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Lourdes Martin

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