Autism is considered a “spectrum disorder,” meaning its symptoms range from mild to severe and affect each person differently.
April is National Autism Awareness Month, an opportunity to learn more about this complex developmental disability that affects the ability to interact and communicate.
There is no cure for autism, which is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S. It typically appears during the first three years of life, when children exhibit a delay in language skills, little or no eye contact, repetitive mannerisms, and no interest in playing make-believe.
Here are some fast facts about this condition:
- Although autism affects people to varying degrees, it is more common in boys. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder.
- There is no one known cause of autism. Studies of twins have determined that autism is genetically based.
- Vaccines do not cause autism (a popular belief in the late 1990s and early 2000s), according to several scientific studies.
- Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and applied behavioral analysis are the treatments proven to be most effective for autism. The earlier a child receives help, the more likely he or she may gain enough skills to attend a mainstream school.
If you have relatives or friends impacted by autism, the support group Helping HANDs (Hope for Autism and Neurological Disorders) meets at 7pm on April 10 at the Medical Center of Trinity. No reservations are required. For more information, please contact (727) 793-6006 or Jonica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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