Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States.
Fourteen years ago, only 1 in 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism. Today, that rate has soared to 1 in 150. Despite this prevalence, research shows that many parents of young children are generally unaware of autism. This campaign seeks to educate parents about the growing rate of autism in this country and to ultimately increase the level of early detection.
Because there is currently no cure for autism and no effective means to prevent it, early detection is the crucial first step in helping children with autism. With appropriate early-intervention services, from ages 3-5, between 20% and 50% of children diagnosed with autism will be able to attend mainstream kindergarten.
While every child is different, the symptoms of autism are normally as followed:
• Fails to respond to his or her name
• Has poor eye contact
• Appears not to hear you at times
• Resists cuddling and holding
• Appears unaware of others' feelings
• Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her "own world"
• No facial expressions by 6 months or older
• Doesn’t mimic sounds, smiles, or expressions by 9 months and older
• No back and forth gestures, or hand waves by 12 months or older
• Starts talking later than other children
• Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
• Does not make eye contact when making requests
• Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
• Can't start a conversation or keep one going
• May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn't understand how to use them
• No babbling by 12 months or older
• No words by 16 months
• No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
• Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
• Develops specific routines or rituals
• Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals
• Moves constantly
• May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
• May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch
(Information from www.mayoclinic.com)
The Ad Council encourages all parents of young children to visit www.AutismSpeaks.org to learn more.