According to the CDC Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) now affect 1 in 88 children in the United States (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html).
What are the different types of Autism?
Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism)
Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”)
What causes Autism?
All of the causes of ASDs are unknown. However environment, biologic and genetic factors may cause a child to be more likely to have an ASD. Most scientists agree that genetics are a risk factor. Those with parents or siblings with ASD are at a higher risk of also have ASD. Certain prescription drugs while taken during pregnancy have also been linked to a higher risk of ASD. Theories regarding vaccines and infections have led researchers to consider risk factors before and after birth.
Who does Autism affect?
Autism affects both genders, although there is a higher prevalence in boys than girls.
When do symptoms appear and what are they?
Individuals with ASD do not all have the same symptoms.
For some, ASDs may begin before 3 years old and improve over time. For others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months or later. In other cases, children seem to develop normally until about 18 to 24 months then stop gaining new skills, or lose skills they once had.
How do doctors diagnose Autism?
Diagnosing ASDs can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.
What are treatments for Autism?
Currently there is no cure for ASDs. However, early intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s development. These services are available for children birth to age three can include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others. ABA therapy is also a service that will help to improve a child’s development after early intervention.