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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most common disabilities to date, impacting around 1% of the entire population. For many, ASD can create difficulties with communication, learning, and social interactions. With autism being a common diagnosis, it is likely you or someone you know may be impacted. April is Autism Acceptance and Awareness month, a great opportunity to get involved in the community and learn more about autism. Throughout this blog we’ll review interesting facts you may not know about ASD!

Interesting Facts

  • In a major first, Sesame Street introduced it’s first character with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Julia. You’ll love her and her other Sesame Street friends!
  • Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
    • Autism is more common in boys than girls. Research from 2021 found that autism is about 4.2 times more prevalent in boys than girls. This means that for every girl with autism, four boys have autism. They noted that gender differences could affect diagnosis and treatment. This study shows that boys and girls without cognitive impairment may present autism symptoms differently. Studies found that boys are more likely to:
  • Develop rituals and routines
  • Make less eye contact when in a conversation
  • Experience unusual fear or distress due to noisy, crowded spaces
  • Lack interest in peer pressure
  • Become distressed due to wearing particular clothing items

The differences in signs and symptoms between males and females are subtle and can often go undetected by common screen tests.

  • Most children are still being diagnosed after age 4, though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2.
    • Early detection and treatment can lead to improved short- and long-term behaviors to help children with ASD regarding various skill areas (e.g., socialization, communication, adaptive skills), health and safety, and quality of life.
  • Autism appears to have a genetic bias
    • Studies have shown that among identical twins if one child has autism, the other will be affected about 36 to 95 percent of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has autism, then the other is affected about 31 percent of the time.
  • While Autism Spectrum Disorder can cause obstacles when building interpersonal relationships, it can also give a laser-like focus to things that the person enjoys.

Statistics

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder now affects 1 in 44 children.
  • An estimated 40 percent of people with autism are non-vocal.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects an estimated 30 to 61 percent of children with autism.
    • Children with autism are also more likely to have sleep problems than those without ASD. Individuals with ADHD are more likely to have anxiety, which affects 11 to 40 percent of children with ASD.

Behavioral Interventions

With more research being done, we are learning more about autism each day and the best way to work with and support those who have it. Here’s a look at some key findings and facts on behavioral interventions available for people with ASD:

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA) and therapies based on its principles are the most researched and commonly used behavioral interventions for autism. 
    • For many individuals with autism, social communication issues and/or repetitive and restrictive behaviors can create significant challenges that impact their ability to function independently or participate in daily activities. For these individuals, ABA treatment can help overcome these challenges and improve their overall happiness.
  • Early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan.
    • The first three years of a child’s life involve vital brain development. Intervening during this period is known to produce more favorable treatment outcomes. By implementing early intervention therapy services at a young age, children with autism spectrum disorder can improve their developmental pathway.

If you suspect your child or loved one is showing signs of autism, please discuss with your pediatrician or healthcare provider. BlueSprig is here to provide support and resources. If you have any questions or need help with next steps, contact your local center by visiting BlueSprig.

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