April 2nd of this year marked the 12th Annual Autism Awareness Day. In honor of the occasion, we wanted to present some autism facts and give thanks to those who are dedicating their lives to helping individuals with autism.
What is Autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a neural development disorder. It is often characterized by impaired social interaction and communication as well as restrictive and repetitive behavior. Symptoms of autism typically present early in life and can be reliably diagnosed by 2 years old. People with autism also face elevated risks for a variety of other issues. For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleep problems, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and chronic gastrointestinal disorders are all much more common in those with ASD.
How Common is Autism?
Autism is impacting more and more individuals each year: the most current research demonstrates that autism impacts 1 in 59 children. Broken down by gender, 1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls are diagnosed with autism. Experts are careful to indicate that these numbers don’t reflect an “epidemic” of autism. Rather, as ASD is being better understood, it’s more likely to be diagnosed. Part of why increasing awareness is so important is that with early detection, interventions can be implemented that have been shown to improve outcomes later in life.
New Autism Research Developments
Every day, experts are working toward developments and solutions that can make life easier and happier for individuals with autism and their families. Promising insights relating to various dimensions of autism have been inspiring. These developments in autism research are definite indicators that the efforts made by various organizations are making an impact in the effort to understand the complexity and factors surrounding ASD. For instance, many important steps forward were taken last year, including:
- Developing a more efficient system for personalized interventions for children with autism
- Creating a program to help reduce the stress of parents of children with autism
- Discovering increased cerebrospinal fluid in the brains of toddlers with autism, which could help to illuminate the biological underpinnings of autism
- Finding deleted and duplicated sequences of DNA that correlate with autism
Charting a Path Forward
There has been a lot of progress made in understanding the vast complexities across the spectrum. Plus, there are many people who help to spread knowledge and information about this disorder, including the teachers, friends, and relatives of those with autism. As a result, we are better able to embrace them and help them lead fulfilling lives. With more research and fundraising, developments will continue that help people all around the world.
We need to all take part in making others aware of how to recognize and embrace those with ASD. The more accepting we are, the better we can help. Autism can be difficult for individuals and their families, but getting an early start with interventions and treatments can make a real difference.
Interesting in doing what you can to support this cause? Check out our autism awareness apparel. April is Autism Awareness Month, so show your support all month long by sporting an awareness bracelet or autism t-shirt.