Autism is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in areas of social interaction and communications skills. It is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and both children and adults with autism often show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.
Autism statistics from the CDC identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Studies show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. One should keep in mind however, that autism is a spectrum disorder and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees – this is why early diagnosis is so crucial. Awareness of the signs of autism at an early age means a child can begin benefiting from one of the many specialized intervention programs now available.
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