April is National Autism Awareness Month and the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd. This is an excellent time to learn about the impact of autism on citizens and to promote treatment methods and research developments. According to the CDC, 1 in every 110 children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In 2003, Governor Granholm declared April as Autism Awareness Month. Corner Pieces, has launched Light It Blue Michigan in recognition of autism awareness. The Mackinac Bridge will be lit blue at sundown on April 2 to kick off the month-long campaign.
According to Light it Blue Michigan, the rate of Autism in Michigan has increased over 100% since 2001, from 5,680 school children to over 15,000, and Michigan has the 4th largest Autistic population in the U.S.
The following general information on Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder is provided by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
What is autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood.
What is an autism spectrum disorder?
Different people with autism can have very different symptoms. Health care providers think of autism as a “spectrum” disorder, a group of disorders with similar features. One person may have mild symptoms, while another may have serious symptoms. But they both have an autism spectrum disorder.
Currently, the autism spectrum disorder category includes: autistic disorder (autism); asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified as atypical autism.
What are the symptoms of autism?
The main signs and symptoms of autism involve problems in communication, both verbal and non-verbal, social, and repetitive behaviors or routines. The symptoms of autism can usually be observed by 18 months of age.
What are the treatments for autism?
There is no cure, nor one single treatment for autism spectrum disorders. There are ways to help minimize symptoms and maximize learning such as behavioral therapy including speech and language therapy, and occupational and physical therapy. There are no medications that can cure autism spectrum disorders, but in many cases, medication may treat some of the symptoms.
Is there a link between autism and vaccines?
There is no conclusive scientific evidence that any part of a vaccine or combination of vaccines causes autism. Currently the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about research on autism and vaccines. Its Vaccines and Autism Theory web site provides information from the federal government and from independent organizations about vaccines and autism.
Is autism more common in certain groups of people?
Three groups are at higher-than-normal risk for autism spectrum disorders, including:
- Siblings of those with autism
- People with certain other developmental disorders, such as Fragile X syndrome
Additional resources on autism and autism spectrum disorder
- Autism Society of America - Oakland County Chapter
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)