Thursday, April 17, 2008

Autism Awareness Month

Did you know (as stated by the Autism Society of America) that:

* Every day 60 American families are told they have a child with autism.
* As many as one out of every 150 babies born will have autism.
* Autism is growing at an alarming rate of 10 to 17 percent each and every year in America.
* More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined.
* 1.5 million Americans have some form of autism spectrum disorder.
* Autism receives less than 5% of the public funding contributed each year to fight all major childhood diseases.

Did you also know that the incidence of autism is 4 times more common in boys than in girls? These statistics are overwhelming to me! So, what can we do?

If you have children, the best thing is to watch for early signs. Autism can be treated but early diagnosis and intervention is crucial. Here are some signs to look for:

*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

Don't ever hesitate to speak with your pediatrician about Autism (or anything for that matter!). There are also many organizations such as the Autism Society of America, Autism Speaks, and the Autism Research Institute that can give you more information on the disease and how to get involved!

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