What is Autism?
The Autism Society of America defines autism as "a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees."
In my experience no two children with autism are alike. This means that no one treatment type or teaching strategy works for all children with autism. Parents must educate themselves about treatment options and choose the philosophy/approach they are comfortable with. While there is no cure for autism, there is hope. Children with autism can learn to adapt and develop coping strategies that will help them reach their full potentials. Proper intervention with a strong emphasis on parent training and involvement may lead to significant progress.
What are the characteristics of Autism?
difficulty understanding language/following commands
difficulty expressing wants and needs/severe expressive language delay
sensory processing problems (over or under stimulated by sensory stimuli)
engages in odd behaviors such as rocking or spinning objects
difficult to engage
more interested in objects than people
poor eye contact
mood changes for no apparent reason
echolalia (repeating words or phrases)
insistence on sameness or routine
How Many People Have Autism?
In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated, “CDC estimates that an average of 1 in 110 children in the U.S have an ASD.” For more information from the CDC please visit ( http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html) .
What Causes Autism?
No one knows what causes autism. Autism has been identified throughout history, across all races, all socioeconomic classes and in all parts of the world. Many believe that children with autism are born with the disorder or the potential to develop it. Based on this information there appears to be a genetic component to acquiring the disorder. Some people believe that a child is genetically predisposed to the disorder and then something in the child's environment triggers the symptoms. This is an especially strong argument for children who develop normally for the first 12-18 months of life and then begin to regress and show autistic characteristics. For more information about autism go to the Autism Society of America's website, http://autism-society.org/.
- Autism Society of America. (2008). About Autism. In www.autismsociety.org. Retrieved
July 14,2009. Available from http://www.autismsociety.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_home
- Centers for Disease Control. (2007). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders --- Autism
and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2002. In
www.cdc.gov. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
Available from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5601a2.htm
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