Autism is rife with controversies related to its potential causes and treatments. The differences in opinion related to what the disorder is, and who it effects, have led to wrong information being circulated and a lot of confusion. Similar to other developmental disorders, autism starts from early childhood, and impairs the ability to communicate and interact well into adulthood.
During Autism Awareness Month, it's important to learn the facts behind Autism to better understand children and adults who are affected.
In the video, "25 Surprising Autism Facts You Need to Know Now", List25 explains Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects one in 68 children in the U.S.. Often, ASD is believed to be a disorder of intelligence or language, but it's based on difficulties with social communication. This means someone with autism would have a hard time reading body language, or understanding the importance of tone or sarcasm.
A major part of the controversy surrounding autism is its cause. Despite what anti-vaxxers believe, science has proven vaccines do not cause ASD. This myth was based on a false study conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield on 12 children. According to the retraction, “no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient."
The exact cause of autism is currently unknown, but science has found it could occur as a result of a genetic predisposition, environmental, or unknown factors. Although there's no medical test for autism, doctors and other professionals use a number of behavioral tests to see what skills children with ASD have and do not have. Most children with ASD are not diagnosed until they are in preschool, but differences can be seen in children with and without autism as early as six months old.
Now, although there is no cure, getting early treatment is vital. There are a number of behavioral therapies, including speech, occupational therapy, or applied behavioral analysis that can drastically improve the behavior of a person with autism, and lead to a child's long term success.
It remains unclear why boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls.
Scientists believe girls may exhibit symptoms differently than boys, which makes them less likely to be diagnosed. In regards to diagnosis, New Jersey has the highest autism rate in the U.S., suggesting either something odd is going on in the Garden State, or doctors have gotten better at diagnosing the complex disorder.
Individuals with autism do not have a long lifespan compared to their peers. They are two to five times more likely to die because of other health conditions more common in ASD, like seizures and accidents. It's important to remember autism greatly varies from person to person, and so does their life expectancy.
Click on List25's video to learn more surprising facts to help you understand the complex disorder.