Autism by the Numbers

April is National Autism Awareness Month so stories about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are appearing in the news. The CDC estimates that an average of 1 in 110 children is affected by autism. I know a child with autism and you probably do too. Autism is really a broad range, or spectrum, of pervasive developmental delays (PDD) and the cause is still unknown, although research suggests it is a genetic condition. What is known is that the number of children affected is growing.

Because the numbers are increasing, I asked Dr. Patricia Evans, a Children’s Medical Center Dallas child neurologist and autism expert, what’s behind that fact. Here’s what she had to say.

Dr. Evans also said that increasing cases of autism also may be occurring because there is less stigma associated with seeking help for these children, and doctors are more willing to apply the diagnosis to help a patient.

Signs to watch for in your child
How can parents tell if their child has an ASD? Dr. Evans said symptoms may include:
· Does not interact well with others, including parents
· Does not communicate well with others
· Demonstrates repetitive behaviors
· Is preoccupied, usually with lights, moving objects or parts of objects
· Does not like noise
· Has rituals
· Requires routines

These behaviors may resemble other conditions or medical problems so always consult your physician. For younger children, your family doctor should be conducting assessments at well-baby visits. If your child is older, talk to your school about getting an assessment conducted. Children’s offers a comprehensive range of services for children with ASD.

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