Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and autism are both common terms used for a group of complex neuro-developmental disorders. ASD affects the normal brain functions and cause impairments or delays in social interaction, communication and language along with behavioral issues. This complex neuro-developmental disability typically appears during the ﬁrst three years of life. Characterized by difficulties in speech, verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors and sensory issues.It affects the way an individual relates to his or her environment and their interaction with other people and hence impacts the development in the areas of daily functioning and social interaction. Mental capacities are compromised due to subnormal functioning of some areas of the brain. Children with autism have special needs that must be catered differently.
The diagnosis of autism is usually made in early childhood and despite of extensive research, the causes of autism have not been deﬁned as yet. However increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to signiﬁcantly improved outcomes. When autism is detected and treated early, disruptive behaviors can be minimized and cost associated with treatment can be reduced signiﬁcantly.
How common is Autism:
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 68 children fall on the autism spectrum with a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Research suggests that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis, awareness and may be due to environmental influences. Studies show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than in girls. An approximate estimate of 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in United States.