12 Autism Facts To Be Aware Of
Updated January 02, 2019
Reviewer Avia James
If you suspect that your child has Autism, it is important that you seek professional help right away. There is very little that we know aboutAutism overall. And since any child can be diagnosed with Autism, it is important to get ourselves educated on this conditionto increase overall public awareness.
- Autism Affects Approximately 1 In 59 Children
Autism spectrum disorder is considered one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the country. This is important because, as of yet, we don't have a lot of information about what causes it, which makes it more difficult to prevent. We do know that more and more people seem to be born with it and the rates are approximately 1 in 59 children in total and 1 in 37 boys. We also know that boys are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
- Autism Is A Spectrum Disorder
Autism is actually more prevalent than many of us might think and that's partially because it's not just one specific disorder. Autism is considered a spectrum of disorders where some children experience more severe symptoms than others. One child may have only a mild form of Autism while another child may have a more serious form. Milder forms are generally referred to as pervasive developmental disorder while moderate forms are generally Asperger syndrome. Only serious cases are actually considered 'classic' Autism.
- Symptoms Generally Occur Around 2-3 Years Of Age
Symptoms can occur as early as a few months old, but in most children they don't start until closer to 24 months. This is one of the reasons that it was once believed that Autism was caused by vaccines, because the time that most children get the MMR vaccine (2-3 years of age) is also typically the time that they start showing symptoms of Autism. But we'll talk about that a little more in the next point. For now, know that children may first start showing symptoms as late as 36 months, however most children will have symptoms earlier.
- Autism Is NOT Caused By Vaccines
Though we don't know a whole lot about what causes Autism, we do know that it's not caused by vaccinations. There has actually been a great deal of research done on this topic and it's been found that there is no correlation between children who get vaccinated (the MMR vaccine or any other) and children who develop Autism. In fact, most research seems to suggest that autism occurs within the womb, before the child is even born. While symptoms take longer to show themselves, the genetic difference that is believed to lead to Autism is present long before the child gets vaccinated.
- Autism May Have A Genetic Component
Once again, there's only a limited amount of research available about Autism and its origins, but it has been found that children who have a parent or a sibling with Autism are actually more likely to have Autism themselves. This finding suggests that there may be a genetic component to the disorder. At this point in time, researchers and scientists are uncertain regarding how strong this genetic link may be (for there are parents withAutism who have children without the disorder, as well as parents without Autism whohave children on the spectrum), but there seems to be a higher likelihood.
- There Is No Way To Detect Or Cure Autism
Although it is believed that there is some kind of a genetic link and that changes in the womb may induceAutism,at this point in time, there is noway to detect Autism before the child start showing symptoms. Unfortunately, there is also no actual cure for Autism. Instead, there are ways that children with Autism can be treated and supported, in an effort to minimize adverse effects of the disorder on their lives.
- The Earlier Your Child Gets Treatment, The Better
Children who are diagnosed with Autism have a much better prognosis if they are introduced to treatment methods early on in their lives. Notifying their doctor of any unusual symptoms and behaviors, as soon as those are observed,is an important step that can support early diagnosis. The sooner the child is diagnosed, the earlier treatment starts. It has been foundthat children who start treatment early on, are able to more successfully overcome obstacles and maintain optimal levels of functioning.
- Symptoms Are Not Always The Same
Many children with Autism will experience behavioral problems, developmental delays, social and communication delays and even learning disabilities, but the symptoms often vary between children, for which the disorder is viewed on a spectrum. Therefore, it is important to let your doctor know of any unusual behaviors or developmental delays and maladaptations.
- There Are Three Different Types Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
The most common form of Autism is called 'classic' Autism because it's the one that most people are familiar with and the one with the highest level of severity. This is the type of autism that you probably think of when someone mentions Autism. But there is also Asperger syndrome, which is a moderate form of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which relates to children who have some of the difficulties and symptoms of Autism but are not actually classified under the diagnosis.
- Some Other Genetic Or Chromosomal Disorers Have Shown Higher Occurences of Autism
Children with Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis and other chromosomal disorders have been shown to have a higher than average likelihood of having Autism in conjunction. There has not been any scientific information to definitively link these types of disorders, however. At this time,it's only known that there seems to be a higher than an average number of children who have these disorders in combination with Autism. More research must be done to better explain the link (if any) between the disorders
- Treatment Involves Behavioral Intervention And Medication
Children who are diagnosed with Autism generally start a behavioral intervention and medication therapies right away. The behavioral specialist works with the child to help him learn the skills he is lacking in, including social skills, language skills and more. Parents and siblings are also encouraged to participate in learning how to help the child with Autism. Medications can also treat some of the symptoms that often accompany Autism, including depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They can also be used if the child has severe behavioral problems or if they suffer from attention deficit disorder or seizures.
- Therapy Can Help Your Child
Therapy with a mental health professional can be a great step in the process of getting your child help. This type of therapy allows them to interact with someone outside of the family and helpsthe family, on the other hand,to better understand the child and how they are doing. It can take some work to find a therapist that your child will feel comfortable with, but it can definitely help them in the process of their treatment. A family therapy can be helpful as well, as it addressesthe dynamics within the family system of a child with Autism.
If you believe that your child may have Autism or if you already know that they do, it's a good idea to seek out professional help for the entire family. Other children will have dramatic changes to their lives if they have a sibling with Autism. Parents will need to learn new methods of parenting and ways of providing structure. All of these changes can be difficult and that's why it's important that you and your entire family get therapy to help you understand those changes.
Online therapy, like the therapy available with BetterHelp, could be just what you need. This type of therapy allows you and the family (or each of you in separate sessions) to work with a therapist, without ever having to leave your home. You can actually log on from anywhere that has an internet connection and you'll be able to reach out to your therapist to find out more about what you're experiencing and what you can do to help yourself and your family. This type of therapy even connects you with therapists from other parts of the country, so you have a much wider range of therapist options.