Though only brought to the forefront of the public eye in more recent years, the Autism Society has recognized April as National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s.
Here are some facts and statistics about autism, from the Autism Speaks website:
- Autism now affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys.
- Autism prevalence figures are growing.
- More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.
- Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
- Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade.
- Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.
- Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.
- There is no medical detection or cure for autism.
Signs of autism appear in the first three years of life. As you navigate through your baby’s childhood, there are so-called Red Flags of autism you can be aware of. These include:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months or thereafter
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age