FAQs About Autism
WHAT IS AUTISM?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today. In April 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in 68 births in the United States, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. The spotlight shown on autism as a result of the prevalence increase opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.
Research suggests children as young as 1-year-old can show signs of autism. The most important thing a parent can do is to learn the early signs of autism and how they vary from typical development. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait. Speak to your doctor about screening your child for autism.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS
- 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
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
MYTHS ABOUT AUTISM
- People with autism do not speak
- People with autism never make eye contact
- People with autism do not smile
- People with autism are not affectionate
- People with autism do not want friends