There are all kinds of facts and speculations about the autism spectrum. Unfortunately, many Americans are either somewhat misinformed or simply don’t know much about it. Since more and more children and adults are getting diagnosed with autism each year, it’s important that people at least have a basic understanding of what it is and how it affects people. The sooner someone is diagnosed, the sooner they can begin treatment with an autism specialist.
Here are ten things everyone should know about autism:
1. Autism now affects one in 88 children and one in 54 boys.
2. Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with it.
3. Autism is difficult to understand because of its incredible genetic complexity. There are over 500 genes thoughts to be related to autism. This makes it extremely complex to study and difficult to pin point. This is one of the reasons that a cause has not been determined.
4. There is no cure for autism. That is why autism treatment is so important—the sooner a patient gets treatment, the sooner they can learn coping and adaptation skills.
5. The autism spectrum is very large. There is a huge difference between a three and a four. Some people with autism are so high-functioning that with proper treatment, you’ll hardly be able to tell that they have it.
6. On the opposite end, about one quarter of children diagnosed with autism are non-verbal. As many as half of those with autism do not develop strong enough language skills to function in everyday life.
7. Autism received less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood illnesses. This may be why no official cause or cure has been found. Spreading awareness is vital to the cause.
8. Many people assume high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are the same thing. In fact, they are different.
9. A small number of people with autism, about 10%, have savant syndrome. This means they may have extraordinary skills in a few limited areas, such as extreme visual acuity, advanced mathematical skills or amazing musical skills.
10. Many people associate autism with behavioral issues. However, it is much more complex, and there are many symptoms. Some symptoms include repetitive behaviors, avoiding eye contact, social problems, sleep disorders, digestive issues, allergic reactions, seizures and speech issues.