Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Latest on Autism Spectrum Disorder

It’s a topic that continues to make headlines. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly called autism, affects 1 out of 68 children in the U.S. today. The numbers are growing, although researchers don’t know why. But, there are some new developments in this area that give hope to identifying, managing, and successfully living with autism.

What is autism?

Autism is a spectrum of developmental brain challenges, which can involve and affect:

Social skills
Communication ability
Behavior

Often, children with autism exhibit very narrow interests, such as focusing on wheels or moving parts, and difficulty with change or switching tasks.

Is there a connection between ASD and Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger's Syndrome is part of the autism spectrum. In Asperger's Syndrome, individuals exhibit key social, communication, and behavioral symptoms. However, they do not typically show signs of delayed language or intellectual disability.

Autism Facts

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Almost half of children with ASD test average to above average for intellectual abilities.
Boys are 5 times more likely to be affected by ASD than girls.
Caucasian children have a higher rate of ASD than any other group.

New Developments

Genetic factors:

ASD used to be diagnosed based on behavior alone; recent research shows evidence of genetic testing that will prove useful for diagnosis.
Research shows a connection between individuals with ASD and the type of job their parents hold. Individuals with parents in technical jobs are at higher risk for ASD. Children with both parents in technical fields are at higher risk of developing a more severe form of ASD.
Individuals with a mutation in the CHD8 gene show a very strong likelihood to being diagnosed with ASD.

Personal intervention with the use of computer tablets

The use of computer tablets has shown improvement in the communication abilities among children with ASD. Research, in general, is making steady progress toward understanding the minds of those with ASD.

Other news and findings

Although once thought to be a link to ASD, a recent report shows there is not enough evidence to report a correlation between receiving vaccines and the risk of developing ASD.

How can you get involved?

Check out walks, fundraisers, and other events that help raise money in the fight against ASD through 1Power4Autism.  If a family member is affected by ASD, check out Sensory Friendly Films to enjoy movies in a comfortable environment.

Where can you learn more?

Scientists and researchers continue to report updates on ADS on a regular basis. If ASD affects your family member, someone you know, or you just have an interest in the condition, continue to stay informed regarding the most recent findings.

Aside from your own healthcare provider, there are a variety of sources to keep you updated regarding ASD research and findings. Check out sites such as: www.autism-society.org and www.autismtoday.com.

Sources:
CDC
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
ScienceDaily


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-FamilyWize

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