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April is National Autism Awareness Month

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(image: WPMI)

Autism:

* now classified as ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder

* Often diagnosed before the age of three years old

* 1 in 68 children have ASD (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 180 girls)

* it is a spectrum of disorders ranging from:

  • Poor communication (speech and non verbal)
  • Difficulty forming relationships
  • Difficulty with language
  • Difficulty with abstract concepts

Causes of Autism (genetic and environmental)

* Older age of Mother AND Father

* Lack of prenatal vitamins with folic acid before and during pregnancy

* Maternal illness during pregnancy (certain viral infections?)

* Genetic defects

Vaccines are NOT a cause of autism

ASD examples:

* persons with ASD may avoid eye contact

* No big smiles by 6 months of age

* children may not play pretend games

* children may not respond to their name

* often engage in repetitive behavior

* have social interactive difficulties

* may not use words by 16 months of age

Treatment:

* Usually requires several modalities

* An ASD child may have an exceptional IQ and be gifted in music, art or academics (may have low IQ as well)

* Schooling is important and parents ought to seek out schools with excellent support

* Music therapy has found to be helpful and one can get a degree in music therapy (singing, playing instruments etc builds social skills)

* We recommend early testing

* If you have suspicions please call your local number - ALABAMA's is 1.800.543.3098