Autism Info

What is Autism? {This is what the experts say it is, but we all have our own experiences. I’m diggin’ the cards that I’ve been dealt… makes the journey more interesting.}

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of typical children. Less severe cases may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or with Asperger’s Syndrome (these children typically have normal speech, but they have many “autistic” social and behavioral problems).

It used to be thought that autism is just a fate that you accept.The good news is that there are now a wide variety of treatment options which can be very helpful. Some treatments may lead to great improvement, and others may have little or no effect, but a good starting point would be the parent ratings of biomedical interventions, which presents the responses of over 25,000 parents in showing the effectiveness of various interventions on their own child.

ARI’s Diagnostic Checklist, Form E-2, was developed by Dr. Bernard Rimland to diagnose children with Kanner’s syndrome (which is also known as ‘classical autism’). Many parents and professionals have also used the E-2 checklist to assist in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  You can print out, complete the checklist, and then mail it to ARI for scoring. Our staff will analyze the responses and send you a score along with an interpretation. The checklist is available in 17 different languages. There is no charge for this service.

How Common is it? For many years autism was rare – occurring in just five children per 10,000 live births. However, since the early 1990’s, the rate of autism has increased exponentially around the world with figures as high as 60 per 10,000. Boys outnumber girls four to one. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism.

What is the Outlook? Age at intervention has a direct impact on outcome–typically, the earlier a child is treated, the better the prognosis will be. In recent years there has been a marked increase in the percentage of children who can attend school in a typical classroom and live semi-independently in community settings. However, the majority of autistic persons remain impaired in their ability to communicate and socialize.

Source: Autism Research Institute

Some Quick Facts & Stats about Autism

  • 1 in 150 births1
  • 1 to 1.5 million Americans2
  • Fastest-growing developmental disability
  • 10 – 17 % annual growth
  • $90 billion annual cost3
  • 90% of costs are in adult services3
  • Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention3
  • In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion4

Source: Autism Society of America

Autism Signs/Symptoms

Though each child with autism is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior, these characteristics are common signs of the disorder:

Social skills

  • Fails to respond to his or her name
  • Has poor eye contact
  • Appears not to hear you at times
  • Resists cuddling and holding
  • Appears unaware of others’ feelings
  • Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her “own world”

Language

  • Starts talking later than other children
  • Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
  • Does not make eye contact when making requests
  • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
  • Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
  • May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them

Behavior

  • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
  • Develops specific routines or rituals
  • Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals
  • Moves constantly
  • May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
  • May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch and yet oblivious to pain

Source: Mayo Clinic

Autism Resources

www.autism-resources.com

www.autismtulsa.org

www.autism-society.org

www.autism-pdd.net

Children’s Books on Autism

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