- 1 out of every 68 children in the United States receives an autism diagnosis – an increase of around 30% since 2012
- Autism is five times more common in boys than girls
- There is no single cause for ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) – evidence suggests many factors are involved.
- Genetic and environmental risk factors currently being researched
- There is a wide range of symptoms including:
- Lack of eye contact
- Not responding appropriately to greetings
- Difficulty initiating and maintaining conversations with others
- Not responding appropriately to others’ gestures and facial expressions
- Difficulty using gestures and facial expressions appropriately
- Appearing to be unaware of others’ feelings
- Not engaging in pretend play
- Preferring to play alone
- Repeating sounds, words, or phrases out of context
- Becoming distressed by minor changes in routines
- Performing repetitive movements, such as hand flapping or rocking
- Playing with toys in unusual ways, for instance spinning them or lining them up
- Having unusually strong attachments to particular objects
- Limiting conversations to very specific topics
- Exhibiting oversensitivity to sounds or textures
- Appearing to be indifferent to pain
- Experiencing delays or plateaus in skill development
- Losing previously acquired skills
- Displaying challenging behaviours, such as aggression, tantrums, and self-injury
- Intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) is the ONLY empirically validated treatment for ASD. Based on the principles of applied behaviour analysis (see attached release) treatment is conducted at high intensity, typically between 30 – 40 hours per week for multiple years. The best results come from early intervention – 2 – 4 years of age.
- Autism doesn’t discriminate in terms of race or socio- economic status.
- Children with autism can be taught to communicate their needs and wants appropriately.
- Autism is a global crisis.
- Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) has broad applications – no problem is too big or too small.
- Many children with autism exhibit challenging behaviours which can be reduced or eradicated through the teaching of alternative skills.
- The Skills for autism curriculum currently entails teaching children with autism who have skills deficits, skills in the following areas:
– Executive Functioning
Autism has increased more than all the other most common childhood disorders combined.
It is never too late to teach children with autism new skills.
Independence and functionality are goals that every child with autism can aim to achieve.
More about Autism South Africa.