Since founding Autism Speaks in 2005, the organization has helped the nation and the world better understand autism and improve ways of treating the condition. Here are some facts about autism that Autism Speaks has highlighted:
1. The number of people found to have autism has increased rapidly in the last 10 years.
In 2005, the number of people diagnosed with autism was only one in 166. Ten years later, the number of people who had been diagnosed with the condition increased to one in 68, an increase of more than 100% during the last decade.
2. Direct detection studies suggest that the number of people with autism may be higher than one in 68.
In a recent study in South Korea, researchers funded by Autism Speaks found that every one in 38 children had autism. Most of these children were undiagnosed prior to this study. The organization is now negotiating with the CDC in the US to conduct a similar study using direct screening in US classrooms.
3. Reliable diagnoses of autism can be made in children by the age of two.
Early diagnosis and later intervention can improve outcomes. Autism Speaks is making early detection available to more people, particularly among communities that have been underserved in recent years.
4. With high-quality early intervention, a child’s brain development and activity can show improvement over time.
Because there is a certain degree of plasticity in the brain, the earlier the intervention, the greater the chances that it will have a positive impact on brain development. On a practical level, such interventions will help reduce the need, and the subsequent cost, of comprehensive behavioral and educational support during childhood.
5. For people with autism, behavior therapy can improve their lives.
Research shows strong evidence for the benefits of behavioral therapy. With this evidence, Autism Speaks has been able to push through new laws in 38 states that require health care coverage to pay for the costs of behavioral therapy for people with autism. Those individuals and their families, who were once denied necessary treatment, are now making progress.
6. About a third of people with autism are nonverbal.
For this reason, Autism Speaks supports the research and development of new devices to help these people communicate. The organization has donated these assistive communication devices to thousands of families affected by autism.
7. Assistive communication devices can stimulate speech in many children who do not speak.
Research sponsored by Autism Speaks found that some children with autism who have not spoken by the age of 5 do not necessarily remain nonverbal for the rest of their lives. Some can learn to speak and assistive devices will help them with this process.
8. Gastrointestinal problems related to autism are real.
Research carried out by the Autism Treatment Network has found that 50% of children affected by autism have gastrointestinal disorders of various kinds. In fact, the pain of these disorders can make behavioral symptoms worse. Autism Speaks has created treatment guidelines for pediatricians treating children with autism, as well as tools for parents to use when treating these problems their children experience.
9. Sleep disorders are common in people with autism.
Although sleep disorders often occur in people with autism, they are treatable. Autism Speaks has sponsored research that has provided evidence-based toolkits for parents to help their children overcome these disorders. They have also provided medical guidelines for physicians treating sleep disorders in people with autism.
10. Epilepsy occurs in almost a third of people with autism.
Although they have the potential to be dangerous, not all seizures are obvious to the untrained eye. Special tests are essential in autism health care to rule out epilepsy in people affected by autism.
11. Autism can be a whole-body condition.
Because people with autism have a higher incidence of sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and epilepsy, Autism Speaks recommends that physicians use the “whole person approach” when providing health care to people with autism.
12. Personalized treatment can now be guided with the help of whole genome sequencing.
Tea MSSNG The Autism Speaks sponsored program has changed the future of autism treatment. By sequencing the genome in thousands of families affected by the condition, researchers receive useful information that can help them develop new and more specific medications for autism.
13. The environment plays an important role in causing autism.
A few years ago, experts thought that autism was completely inherited. After further investigation, the Sharing genetic resources for autism, an offshoot of Autism Speaks, found that influences that are not inherited contribute about half the risk of a child developing autism.
14. Research has identified some of the environmental factors that can lead to autism.
If a mother has had an infection or has been exposed to air pollution during pregnancy, the risk of her child developing autism increases. Future mothers who take prenatal vitamins before conception and continue to take them after they become pregnant can reduce the risk of their child developing autism.
15. Almost 50% of people with autism have a tendency to run away or run away.
Autism Speaks funds programs to prevent people with autism from wandering or running. They also educate first responders about these trends in people affected by autism.
16. Bullying affects almost two-thirds of children with autism.
Together with the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Autism Speaks has raised awareness about bullying of children with special needs.
17. Eighty-four percent of adults with autism still live in their parents’ home.
Autism Speaks has asked government officials, both federal and state, to enact policies that provide more options for living arrangements for adults affected by autism.
18. Almost half of the 25-year-old adults who struggle with autism have never had regular paid employment.
In partnership with employers and educators, Autism Speaks continues to advocate for more support for young adults with autism in vocational and postsecondary institutions, as well as employment opportunities for them after graduation.
19. Each year, 50,000 adolescents graduate from high school or become too old to receive school services for autism.
Autism Speaks works with public and private institutions to support people with autism in their transition to adulthood. With your support, these individuals can share their valuable gifts with their communities.
20. The cost faced by families affected by autism during a person’s lifetime is typically between $ 1.4 million and $ 2.4 million.
Depending on whether the person with autism also has an intellectual disability, these costs can go up or down. Early diagnosis and quality interventions, along with support as people with autism transition to adulthood, can help reduce these costs considerably.