World Autism Awareness Day
Many of you may know already that the CDC released new findings last week on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the US. Statistics now indicate that 1 in 88 children are now found to be along the spectrum, with the figure higher for boys at (1 in 54) vs. girls (1 in 252). The overall index indicates a significant rise in this group of disorders since the year 2000 when it was estimated that about 1 in 150 children had some type of ASD.
There are numerous theories and speculation about the increase including better/earlier diagnosis, the risk factors and even if the current definition of ASD is too broad. In any case, the release of the findings shed more light and public awareness on this disability.
As peds therapists, we are often the early observers of some of the characteristics that may indicate the child may be on the spectrum and/or pay attention when a parent tells us that "something is just not quite right" with their son/daughter. I think fellow ADVANCE blogger Devon Alley does a wonderful job sharing some key insights to this with early film footage of her daughter at play.
Characteristics of autism can sometimes be so subtle! Here is a great resource for reviewing the 10 Early Warning Signs for Autism which can include poor eye contact, delayed speech, and unusual or repetitive body movements as some of the indicators.
As always, early identification and early intervention make for the best possible outcome for any child with this diagnosis. As April is Autism Awareness Month and today (April 2, 2012) is World Autism Awareness Day, let us know what you are doing in your community for recognition and support.