Autism Statistics And Facts
Updated December 12, 2018
Reviewer Tanya Harell
The prevalence of autism in our society is quite high, and it's likely that just about anyone has been affected in some way by autism. Maybe you know someone who has it,or you have it yourself. Maybe your child or a friend or a family member was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. No matter how it has touched you or even if you have never been affected by it personally, understanding what it is (and what it isn't) is a good idea for just about anyone.
Autism Is A Set Of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
That may sound confusing, but in short, autism is more accurately referred to as autism spectrum disorder, which means that there is a range of different levels of severity to autism. It's also a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means that it affects the brain and the development of an individual. This is how it affects behavior, social communication, and interactions. Children who have this disorder may struggle to talk with other people or may even completely ignore people around them or objects around them. They may seem to exist in their little world.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Consists Of Several Types
Autism as most people know it or understand it is commonly referred to as 'classic' autism to differentiate it from those who mean to talk about autism spectrum disorder. This is the most serious form of the disorder and symptoms tend to be the strongest. Children with more moderate symptoms are generally diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and those with few, or very mild symptoms may be diagnosed with the pervasive developmental disorder. Each of these, however, exists on a spectrum as well and some children have more severe symptoms than others.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Hinges On Social Skills, Communication and Behavior
Children with some form of autism spectrum disorder usually show difficulty in interacting with other people, don't respond to their name, don't understand playing with other children or don't make eye contact. They also tend to struggle with speech or with age appropriate speech or may repeat things back to you rather than respond to questions or conversation. They may also have difficulty understanding non-verbal cues and may seem to act out or simply behave in a way that is strange for the situation.
Autism Occurs With Higher Frequency Among Some Other Disorders
Children with some genetic disorders, such as Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and Down syndrome have been found to have a higher than average likelihood of also having autism. There is very little known about what might be the cause or how autism and these other disorders might be linked. There has been found, however, that up to 20% or more of those children who have autism have some other form of the genetic disorder. Some of these are the ones listed, and some are not fully understood themselves yet.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Is Diagnosed Around Two Years Of Age
Children who do have autism tend to start showing symptoms somewhere around two years old. Though some children show symptoms very early (some even at only a few months old) most children show no symptoms until much later. Most children will also show at least a few signs by two years old but may not until they reach three. This is why it's important to keep a close eye on your children and pay attention to developmental milestones that are achieved and that aren't. Talking about these with your doctor will give you the earliest sign of what's going on.
Vaccinations Do Not Cause Autism
Researchers have definitively proven that vaccines do not cause autism. A great deal of research has been done on this topic, and we know for a fact that there is no correlation between the two. Rather, some genetic links have been found and some environmental factors are believed to play a part, but vaccinations have been officially ruled out. This is extremely important for parents who are concerned about the health of their child and want to make an informed decision. Vaccinations help your child and do not cause autism.
Early Treatment For Autism Means The Best Prognosis
Children who receive treatment earlier are more likely to reach a higher level of potential. These children are more likely to achieve higher levels of success throughout their lives and in different areas of their lives. They tend to reach higher milestones as well. This is why it's important for you to seek out the treatment that your child needs for autism as soon as possible. You'll be opening them up to a better future and making sure that they can get the most out of their lives as well.
Autism Treatment Includes Therapy And Medication
There are several different aspects to treating autism, and they vary based on the specific condition of your child. First, behavioral intervention and therapy are used to help teach the child skills that they may struggle with as a result of their condition. This also allows the parents to learn more about how to treat their child and help them develop these skills. Medication can be used to treat some of the side effects and symptoms of autism, including depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some children with autism may also have seizures or other behavioral problems that can be treated with medication.
There Is No Cure For Autism
Unfortunately, we don't have a cure for autism at this point. What we can do is treat the child and help them to live as normal of a life as possible. By working with them, you can help them to learn many of the skills they may not otherwise learn on their own. A therapist and even their regular medical doctor will help you with this process, and it will require specialized treatment and training on your part to be successful, but there is no real cure.
Autism Is More Prevalent In Boys Than Girls
Research shows that boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. There is very little information known about this and how it occurs, but the rates seem to show a very consistent level. This does not mean that girls do not have autism, as there are girls diagnosed with autism. It simply means that more boys have autism than girls. There is also an estimated 1 in 59 children diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder.
Mental Health Professionals Can Help Children With Autism And Their Families
Children who have autism are going to struggle in some ways that their peers without autism will not. This is one reason that it can be important to set them up with a mental health professional. But it's also important to look for a professional for your family too. That professional can help your family come to terms with the changes that are going to happen in your life because you have a child with autism and will help you work through the challenges that will come up as well.
You Can Find Help Online
There are plenty of therapists all around the country, but sometimes you're just not in the right place to find someone that you like. One new way of getting the help that you need, however, is to start looking online. That's because there are mental health professionals conducting sessions entirely online, where you don't need to be in the same location, and you don't need to worry about how to make it to the appointment. All you need to do is log on to the website when it's time to 'meet up.'
BetterHelp is one such online resource for you to connect with mental health professionals throughout the country. With this service, you'll be able to find a therapist that you and your family can feel comfortable with (or even separate therapists) and conduct the sessions more easily. You'll be able to communicate with that therapist right from your home or your hotel or anywhere else that you happen to be. That's because the session is completely online. You won't ever have to walk into a therapist's office again because you're connected no matter where you go.
With all the benefits of online therapy, you'll probably wonder why no one has been doing this for a long time yet. After all, with online therapy, you can reach out to someone anywhere in the country. You also can have your session even if you're not in the same place. If you go on vacation, for example, you can still make it to the session. You don't even need to find a different therapist if you and your family move for any reason. You can still keep having sessions with the same person. All in all, you're going to have a much better experience when you log on to talk to your therapist.