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What is Autism?

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. The ASD umbrella includes individuals with autism, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

Signs of autism begin to emerge between the ages of 2 and 3 years of age. If you are worried your child may have Autism, see our developmental checklist and try the MCAHT-R screening tool for Autism. The screening tool is not intended to give a diagnosis of Autism. It can give an indication there may be a developmental delay.

Please see your family practitioner who can help your further. Early diagnosis is important. Research shows children who receive early intervention can have improved outcomes. The latest statistics from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention found Autism Spectrum Disorder rates are 1 in 68. This estimate is roughly 30% higher from 2010 when the rates were reported at 1 in 88.

What are the statistics?
The rates of autism are higher in boys than in girls: 1 in 42 boys than 1:189 girls. To put these rates into perspective, more children will be diagnosed with autism than cancer, aids, cystic fibrosis combined.

Autism rates are being reported the same almost all around the world. The diagnosis of Autism is not specific to any race , religion , culture or socio-economic status. However, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention reported white children are more likely to be identified as having ASD than are black or Hispanic children.2 Levels of intellectual ability vary greatly among children with autism, ranging from severe intellectual challenges to average or above average intellectual ability. The study found that almost half of children identified with ASD have average or above average intellectual ability (an IQ above 85) compared to a third of children a decade ago.

What are the difficulties? 
The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the 'triad of impairments'. They are:

a. difficulty with social communication

b. difficulty with social interaction

c. difficulty with social imagination.

It is important to start early intervention as soon as possible. If you suspect your child has any issues in the areas of play, speech, communications, motor functions or any other developmental areas, don’t delay, take action right away.

Getting help immediately can be difficult as navigating the healthcare system , and educational systems is not easy. Road blocks to access to services can make things sometimes impossible. Options of private therapy is expensive and with myriad of information on the internet sometimes it is difficult to know what to do and where to start. Your not alone. Don’t give up. Don’t get disheartened. Browse through Able2learn Programs to get started.



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