According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of an autism spectrum
disorders diagnosis is 10 times more likely than it was 10 years ago. Currently, one out of every 110 children is
considered to have some form of autism. Many experts believe that number may continue to rise. The rising rates
of autism are being reported worldwide.
Autism remains one of the greatest mysteries of medicine viewed as a fairly new condition described in 1943.
Although autism will be diagnosed in more than 25,000 U.S. children in 2008, which is more than new pediatric
cases of AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined, scientists and doctors still know very little about the neurological
disorder. There is no blood test, no scan, not a single test that can detect autism. Diagnosis relies totally on
behavioral observation and screening.
Increases in the frequency of autism and autistic spectrum disorders in recent years have increased concern over
possible environmental causes. Neurologists and parents desperately want to unlock the mystery of autism. Recent
comparison of autism rates by year of birth for specific regions provides the strongest origin for tendency
evaluation. These assessments show large recent increases in rates of autism and autistic spectrum disorders in the
The Autism Puzzle
Doctors know more about autism than ever before, however, plenty of questions remain unanswered. Over the
past few years, it has become clear that genetics play a big role in the development of autism. Early intervention is
beneficial in promoting communication, socialization, and learning. Through the ages of 0 to 5 years, there is an
immense amount of change that occurs in the brain and brain chemistry. But researchers believe something,
perhaps a trigger sets off autism in a child. If scientists find that trigger, they could find the missing piece of the
autism puzzle. It’s believe the cause maybe a combination of being genetically vulnerable, and then having some
kind of social or toxic exposure that inclines the child more.
Some experts believe heightened awareness has led more parents to have their children evaluated for autism. Others
point to the fact that the definition of autism has been developing and children who would have once been
considered "quiet" or "socially inept" are now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, three distinctive behaviors characterize
autism: lack of social interaction can be interpreted as hearing impairments, problems with verbal and nonverbal
communication delays in language development can be explained by the result of “late-talkers”, lastly obsessive
interests and the repetitive behaviors of autistic children can also make them appear to be “easy” children, since
they may make few demands. But children with autism display these symptoms in many different ways, some as
mild as avoiding eye contact, while others are totally absorbed in a world of their own.
Autism’s Future Needs
The new national study showing higher than anticipated incidences of autism comes as no surprise to special
education public school system. The rise in autism cases puts intense pressure on schools to meet the needs of
autistic children. The board of education is overwhelmed trying to accommodate the needs of the increasing
number of children diagnosed with autism.
Students with autism require a large number of therapy services (special education teachers, speech-language
pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, etc.), the increase is substantial and it is necessary have enough
school personnel trained in the special education field to deliver much needed instruction. There's one agreement
among experts the sooner that children with autism receives therapy, the more likely they are to develop at least
some of the communication skills they will need to manage in the world.
Since autism and other autism spectrum disorders are life-long condition families are facing future challenges of
providing lifetime care for their autistic children. Educators and school districts need support too, as autistic
children require a very specialized curriculum and teachers with a definite understanding of the unique behaviors of
autistic children. Autism has a very wide spectrum of behaviors and learning problems. Some children with autism
are completely nonverbal, while on the other end of the spectrum, children with milder forms, such as Asperger's
syndrome, may be very talkative. The variety of symptoms makes it particularly challenging for parents to
recognize the problem, and for schools to help these children learn in their precise manner.
Rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders Increasing
Recent reports suggest that the incidence of autism may be substantially increasing. Many parents worry that there
may be something out there that's causing autism. Parents of young children with autism play multiple roles in their
children’s life. Families of autistic children frequently express the need for better access to educational and health
services, and the need for long-term assistance for individuals with more severe forms of autism.
Much has been learned about autism spectrum disorders in the last ten years. Now, with appropriate treatment,
many people with autism are active, participating members of their communities. People with autism can learn to
stabilize and cope with their disability, often quite well. While each individual is unique, it may help to know that:
• Many children with autism are learning in regular education classrooms with their peers.
• Students with autism spectrum disorder may choose to continue their education beyond high school. Some people
with autism graduate from college.
• Adults with autism, even those who face challenging traits, are capable of holding jobs in the community.
• More people with autism are living in a home or community of their own rather than institutions.
• People with autism receive assistance and support in the natural settings of daily life (at school, on the job, and in
• People with autism spectrum disorder are becoming self-advocates. Some are forming networks to share
information, support each other, and have their voices heard to the public.
• More frequently, people with autism are attending and/or speaking at conferences and workshops on autism.
• People with autism are providing valuable insight into the challenges of this disability by publishing articles and
books and by appearing on television specials about their lives and their disabilities.
For the children with an autism spectrum disorder who are aging-out of the school setting, there is an increased
need for government policies that will provide long-term care. States need to prepare to serve a large adult
population with special needs. Without early assessment and intervention, access to necessary developmental and
medical services, and proper health care, children with autism are being reduced to a lifetime of disability,
unemployment and, for many, institutionalization. By focusing resources on planning and intensive early
intervention services, more children with autism would have the opportunity to learn skills that would assist them
live healthy and productive lives.