In April we recognize a very important group of individuals, those with autism. About a quarter-century ago, the Autism Society began a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness. This awareness revolves around inclusion and self-determination to assure that each person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is allowed to achieve the highest possible quality of life. Every year organizations around the world celebrate by hosting and taking part in fundraising and awareness events.
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.
We know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, most 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. How 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, and 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.
Indicators 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.
Autism Facts and Stats
Here are some facts and statistics circulating Autism. For more information be sure to check out autismspeaks.org.
- In 2020, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2016 data.
- 1 in 34 boys identified with autism
- 1 in 144 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 the 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.
What causes autism?
- Research indicates that genetics are involved in the vast majority of cases.
- Children born to older parents are at a higher risk of having autism.
- Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2 to 18 percent chance of having a second child who is also affected.
- Studies have shown that among identical twins if one child has autism, the other will be affected by about 36 to 95 percent of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has autism, then the other is affected about 31 percent of the time.
- Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.
Showing Love for those with Autism
During Autism Awareness Month you may recognize recurring symbols and colors including puzzle pieces and the color blue. The puzzle piece symbol stands for the mystery and complexity of ASD. Furthermore, since every puzzle piece is different in some way, this symbol appropriately represents the diversity of individuals affected by ASD.
In addition to the symbolic meaning of the puzzle piece, the official color for Autism Awareness Month is bright royal blue. You may also come across many bright colors which signify hope – that through increased awareness, early intervention, and appropriate treatments, all people with ASD will be able to lead happier and more complete lives.
We are a professional, community-based business built on helping people achieve The American Dream. As an agency and as individuals, we have fun and take pride in the country, community, the independent insurance agency distribution channel, our firm, its 12 Promises to customers, and our role in helping others.