There are many misconceptions when it comes to autism. Some view autism as a “one size fits all” kind of approach. With the help of Autism Speaks, let us help clear up some of those misconceptions.
What exactly is autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.
How common is an autism diagnosis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the United States today.
Are all autism diagnoses the same?
There is not just one type of autism; there are many. Most are influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think, and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.
Several factors may influence the development of autism. It is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and attention issues.
I think my child may have autism. What are some signs that I can look out for?
Signs of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism.
Here are some quick facts about autism:
In 2021, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2018 data.
1 in 27 boys identified with autism
1 in 116 girls identified with autism
Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
Most children were still being diagnosed after age 4, though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2.
31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (intelligence quotient [IQ] <70), 25% are in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range (i.e., IQ >85).
Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
Early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan.
There is no medical detection for autism.
We hope you found this an interesting read. If you haven’t already, check out our podcast with Lalisa Carpenter, Family Nurse Practitioner, mom of 7, and a mother to an autistic child.