It was the 13th annual World Autism Awareness Day yesterday (April 2nd). This day was set aside to encourage the need for self-education about autism, highlight the challenges faced by those living with autism, as well as put a spotlight on the unique skills and talents people with autism possess and how these talents if harnessed, can be useful additions to our communities at large.
In honor of World Autism Day 2020, here are 10 quick facts about Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders.
1) Autism is the most common Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
ASD is an umbrella term for autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger syndrome. These 3 conditions used to be diagnosed separately. It is referred to as “spectrum” because people with ASD can exhibit a wide range of symptoms. No 2 ASD patients have identical symptoms.
2) ASD starts in early childhood, at about the age of 3, and lasts a lifetime
Symptoms might improve as the person gets older. Early identification is important in order to get the needed support as early as possible.
3) 1 in 160 children has ASD
There is speculation that this figure might be higher in some parts of the world.
4) Vaccines don’t cause ASD
Numerous research studies have shown that there is no link between the vaccines given to children and ASD.
5) ASD currently has no cure
Although there’s currently no known cure for ASD, some early management interventions can help reduce the severity, difficulties in communication and social behavior, as well as help to improve the patient and their care giver’s quality of life. For instance, speech and physical therapy to help the child learn how to walk and talk.
6) Siblings of ASD patients are likely to have ASD
Having siblings with ASD increases a child’s odds of having ASD. Odds are even higher in twins.
7) Some medications taken during pregnancy can increase ASD risk
Taking some medications like valproic acid and thalidomide during pregnancy increases the risk of having ASD.
8) Advanced age parenthood increases ASD risk
Children of older parents have a higher risk of having ASD.
9) Boys are more likely to have ASD
ASD is 4 times more common in boys than it is in girls.
10) ASD can affect the entire body
People with ASD can also have Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, sleep problems, and epilepsy.
Featured image: National University
Dr. Wendy Evans-Uhegbu is a graduate of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with experience in Connected Health, Medical Technology, Clinical Research, Medical Education, Medical Communications, and Web Design/Development. She is a part of the Medics Abroad team with the role of Chief Communications Officer. She is also a Medical Writer at 3D4 Medical and runs a Medical Communications and Children’s books company (ODR Integrated Services/ ODR Books). She is the author of the newly published children’s book series “The Things Around Me”.