Meghan Thompson

What is Autism?

  • Autism is neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior
  • Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life.
  • These signs often develop gradually, though some children with Autism reach their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress.
  • The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent in early childhood, typically before age three.

The Early Signs Of Autism

  • No big smiles or joyful expressions by 6 months
  • Failure to respond to own name by 12 months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back and forth gestures, such as pointing or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling at any age

These are just a few of the possible early signs.

If you have and concerns, speak to your doctor about screening your child. Please don't wait.

How Do People With Autism Behave?

  • Stereotypy- Repetitive movement such as hand flapping, head rolling, or body rocking
  • Compulsive Behavior- Intended and appears to follow rules, such as arranging objects in stacks or lines
  • Sameness- Resistance to change; for example, insisting that the future not be moved or refusing to be interrupted
  • Ritualistic Behavior- Involves an unvarying pattern of daily activities, such as an unchanging menu or a dressing ritual. This is closely associated with sameness and an independent validation has suggested combining the two favors
  • Restricted Behavior- Is limited in focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy or game
  • Self-Injury- Includes movements that injure or can injure the person, such as eye-poking, skin-picking, hand-biting, and head-banging

What Causes Autism?

  • Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether ASD is explained more by rare mutations with major effects, or by rare multigene interactions of common genetic variants. Complexity arises due to interactions among multiple genes, the environment, and epigenetic factors which do not change DNA but are heritable and influence gene expression.
  • Several lines of evidence point to synaptic dysfunction as a cause of autism.
BACA and Autism Speaks on WTHR Channel 13

Statistics For People With Autism

  • About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder.
  • Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births.
  • More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68).
  • Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability.