Understanding Autism

| Total Words: 379

Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism. That’s three an hour and 67 a day. This complex neurobiological condition, which can inhibit a person’s ability to communicate, respond to surroundings or form relationships with others, is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States and presents lifelong consequences for individuals, family and society.

The statistics are alarming: Thirteen years ago only one in 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism; today it’s one in 166, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. Despite these epidemic proportions, research shows that many parents of young children are generally unaware of autism.

While there is currently no cure, nor an effective means of prevention, early detection and intervention can result in critical improvements for many young children. The most important thing parents and caregivers can do is to learn the early signs of autism and understand the typical developmental milestones their child should be reaching at different ages. Research now suggests that children as young as 12 months old can exhibit signs of autism, some...

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