Since the founding of Autism Speaks in 2005, this organization has helped the autism country and the world better understand autism and find better ways to treat the disease. Here are some facts about autism highlighted by Autism Speaks:
- The number of people who are found to have autism has increased rapidly over the past 10 years.
In 2005, the number of people diagnosed with autism was only one in 166. Ten years later, the number of people diagnosed with the disease has risen to one in 68, more than 100% in a decade.
- Direct screening studies show that the number of people with autism can be more than one person per 68.
In a recent study conducted in South Korea, researchers funded by Autism Speaks found that each of the 38 children has autism. Most of these children had not been diagnosed before this study. The organization is currently in talks with the CDC in the United States to conduct a similar study using direct screening in classrooms in the United States.
- Reliable diagnosis of autism in children can be made at the age of two.
Early diagnosis and subsequent intervention can improve outcomes. Autism Speaks in recent years has made early detection accessible to more people, especially in low-income communities.
- Excellent early intervention over time can improve a child’s development and brain activity.
Since the brain has a certain degree of plasticity, the earlier the intervention, the more likely it is to positively affect the development of the brain. In practice, these interventions will help reduce the need – and the associated costs – for comprehensive behavioral and educational support in childhood.
- For people with autism, behavioral therapy can improve their lives.
Studies show strong evidence of the benefits of behavioral therapy. Thanks to this data, Autism Speaks was able to pass new laws in 38 states requiring health insurance to pay for the cost of behavioral therapy for people with autism. These people and their families, who were once denied treatment, are now making progress.
- About a third of people with autism are non-verbal.
For this reason, Autism Speaks supports the research and development of new devices that will help these people communicate. The organization has donated these communications resources to several thousand autistic families.
- Communication can stimulate speech in many non-speech children.
The study, sponsored by Autism Speaks, found that some autistic children who don’t talk until the age of 5 don’t necessarily remain non-verbal for the rest of their lives. Some may learn to speak – and help them in the process.
- Problems with the gastrointestinal tract associated with autism are real.
A study by the Autism Treatment Network found that 50% of autistic children suffer from different types of gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, the pain from these conditions can worsen behavioral symptoms. Autism Speaks has developed treatment guidelines for pediatricians who treat children with autism, as well as tools that parents can use to address these problems faced by their children.
- Sleep disorders are common in people with autism.
Although sleep disorders are common in people with autism, they are treatable. The study, sponsored by Autism Speaks, led to the creation of fact-based toolkits for parents to help their children overcome these disorders. They also established medical guidelines for doctors treating sleep disorders in people with autism.
- Epilepsy affects almost a third of people with autism.
While they can be potentially dangerous, not all attacks are obvious to the unprepared eye. Special tests are needed in the treatment of autism to eliminate epilepsy in people with autism.
- Autism can be a full-body disease.
Because people with autism are more likely to experience sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and epilepsy, Autism Speaks recommends that physicians take a holistic approach in providing medical care to people with autism.
- Individual treatment can now be managed by sequencing the entire genome.
The MSSNG program, sponsored by Autism Speaks, has changed the future of autism treatment. By sequencing the genome of thousands of families affected by the disease, researchers will receive effective information that can help them develop new, more targeted drugs for autism.
- The environment plays an important role in the development of autism.
A few years ago, experts considered autism completely hereditary. After further research, the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, a branch of Autism Speaks, found that non-hereditary effects account for about half of a child’s risk of developing autism.
- Studies have identified some environmental factors that can cause autism.
If the mother has contracted the infection or has been exposed to air pollution during pregnancy, her child’s risk of autism increases. Mothers-to-be who take vitamins for pregnant women before conception and continue to take them after pregnancy may reduce their child’s risk of developing autism.
- Almost 50 per cent of people with autism tend to run or leave.
According to the inter-ethnic mayada Elsabbagh et al., the global prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is about 62 per 10,000. Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in 68 in the U.S. state suffers from autism spectrum disorder. The number of diagnosed cases has grown steadily over the past two decades, especially as pediatricians now have access to better tools than ever before to detect the first signs.
While America tops the list of countries most prone to autism, Canada goes next. Recent studies show that one in 147 Canadian children is diagnosed with ASD. Venezuela is one of the few countries in America that has an official estimate of the prevalence of autism. According to a 2008 report, the prevalence of autism in the South American province is 17 per 10,000 people. A recent study in Brazil found 27 cases of autism per 10,000 people.
The prevalence of autism in Asia is much lower than in the West. In Saudi Arabia, the incidence rate is 18 per 10,000 people, and 17 out of 10,000 children under the age of 15 in Hong Kong are diagnosed with EDS. Israel is an Asian country that has struggled with autism, with a prevalence of 190 per million inhabitants.
It is not clear whether ignorance, coupled with fear of social rejection, could have been the cause of the low prevalence of autism in Asia. In many Asian countries, there is no clear line between autism and mental retardation. Students with autism often attend regular classes where they do not necessarily receive the same level of individual attention and quality of education as if they were enrolled in programs for people with special needs. Getting accurate data becomes problematic because many cases of autism go unnoticed.
Autism research in Europe has come a long way since the early 1980s, but data collection methods are still puzzling and complex. Demographic diversity in Europe makes it all the more unlikely that therapists will use a number of consistent data collection methodologies without which intervention is impossible. Special education applications are not as widely used in Europe as they are across the Atlantic. Several studies show that Germany has a higher prevalence of autism (140 out of 10,000) than in other European countries.
Data on the prevalence of autism around the world are changing rapidly. As new technologies and diagnostic tools become available, autism cases are likely to be reported among the previously “safe” population. However, on the other hand, the increase in the number of diagnoses of autism should allow scientists to study more cases to identify its risk factors.
The iLearnNEarn Special Education Application Suite, developed by WebTeam, helps millions of families and people with autism spectrum disorders. The program is structured and focused on the curriculum and includes a number of life skills applications that complement classroom learning. It also facilitates data collection and analysis so that professionals can transmit important information between homes and classrooms. iLearnNEarn gained worldwide recognition in January 2014 when it was named the winner of the Verizon Powerful Answers Award.