Learning About Autism During Autism Awareness Month
Since 2008, the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders has increased 30%. Today, 1 in 68 children nationwide are considered autistic, and, despite groundbreaking research into its causes, autism continues to be a medical mystery.
That’s why National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM) is so important. Sponsored by the National Autism Society, NAAM seeks to educate the public throughout the month of April on current research into the causes of the disorder, effective treatments, as well as societal issues confronting autistic children and their families.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disability that prevents people from effectively communicating and interacting with others. The disorder generally appears in children during their first three years of life, and, while there is currently no cure available, early intervention therapies have proven successful in mitigating its symptoms, which include:
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships
- Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
Causes & Dangerous Myths
The causes of autism are not fully understood. Recent research suggests that the condition develops in the womb and is likely influenced by genetics. Despite popular myths and celebrity claims to the contrary, the disorder is not caused by vaccinations. In fact, those who fail to immunize their children are actually putting them at significant risk for contracting a variety of diseases including measles, which has spiked in recent years because of parents believing the unsupported claims of anti-vaccination advocates and refusing to vaccinate their children.
Learn More about Autism during Autism Awareness Month & Beyond!
To educate yourself about autism, explore the links below. If you believe your child may be autistic, you should first consult your pediatrician for a formal diagnosis. To better understand the diagnosis and treatment process, please visit the National Autism Society. Do all you can to support autism awareness.