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autism facts

  • Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys; 5 years ago 1 in 110 children were affected


  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined


  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding than is provided for many of the less prevalent childhood diseases.


  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.


  • There is no medical cure for autism


  • Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade


  • Because the range of symptoms associated with Autism are so broad it is considered a spectrum disorder; hence the term “autism spectrum disorder.”  The most significant shared symptom is difficulty with social communication (eye contact, conversation, taking another’s perspective, etc.).


  • Autism is the third most common developmental disability following mental retardation and cereral palsy.


  • Autism is more common than multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis or childhood cancer.


  • The annual per-person allocation for persons with autism is approximately $35.  In contrast, multiple sclerosis receives roughly $158, diabetes $424, breast cancer $600, and AIDS $1000.  Currently there is no medical detection, treatment or cure for autism.


  • Autism is a condition whose treatments are specifically excluded by some insurance companies and most state governments.


  • Asperger Syndrome is a High Functioning Form of Autism Asperger Syndrom (AS) is considered to be part of the autism spectrum.  The only significant difference between AS and High Functioning Autism is that people with AS usually develop speech right on time while people with autism usually have speech delays.  People with AS are generally very bright and verbal, but have significant social deficits.


  • People With Autism Are Different from One Another If you’ve seen Rainman or a TV show about autism, you may think you know what autism “looks like.”  In fact, though, when you’ve met one person with autism you’ve met ONE person with autism.  Some people with autism are chatty;  others are silent.  Many have sensory issues, gastrointestinal problems;  sleep difficulties and other medical problems.  Others may have social-communication delays.

Famous Autistics

  • Virginia Woolf – Prolific writer rumored to only write standing up



  • Albert Einstein – Inventor and Pioneer



  • Andrew Jackson- Former President of the U.S.  said to believe the world was flat



  • Daryl Hannah – Actress diagnosed with borderline autism



  • Woody Allen – Brilliant director and actor who exhibits some signs



  • Bob Dylan – Musician who is rumored to be borderline autistic



  • Andy Kaufman – Famous comic and actor whose odd behavior indicated autism



  • Vincent van Gough – An eccentric, yet an extremely talented artist who exhibited some traits of autism



  • Andy Warhol – Another brilliant artist who exhibited some traits of autism



  • Courtney Love – Widow of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain who was diagnosed with mild autism at three years old


  • Dylan Scott Pierce – a wildlife illustrator who is considered a high functioning autistic

More Facts

  • There Are Dozens of Treatments for Autism – But No ‘Cure’ Treatments may be biomedical, sensory, behavioral, developmental or even arts-based.  Depending on the child, certain treatments will be more successful than others.  Not all children have been properly diagnosed nor receive the proper therapy for their particular behavior.


  • There Are Many Theories on the Cause of Autism, But No Consensus.  Though theories are as countless as the range of symptoms; at present, most researchers think autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.


  • People Don’t Grow Out of Autism. Autism is a lifelong diagnosis.  For some people, often (but not always) those who receive intensive early intervention, symptoms may decrease radically.  People with autism can also learn coping skills to help them manage their difficulties and even build on their unique strengths.  But a person with autism will be autistic throughout their lives.


  • Families Coping with Autism Need help and Support. Even “high functioning” autism is challenging for parents.  “Low functioning” autism can be overwhelming to the entire family.  Families may be under a great deal of stress, and they need all the non-judgmental help they can get from friends, extended family, and service providers.  Respite care (someone else taking care of the person with autism while other family members take a break) can be a marriage and/or family-saver!


  • There are Many Unfounded Myths About Autism. The media is full of stories about autism, and many of those stories are less than accurate.  For example, you may have heard that people with autism are cold and unfeeling, or that people with autism never marry or hold productive jobs.  Since every person with autism is different, however, such “always” and “never” statements simply don’t hold water.  To understand a person with autism, it’s a good idea to spend some time getting to know him or her – personally!


  • There’s No ‘Best School’ for a Child with Autism. You may have heard of a wonderful “autism school”, or read of a child doing amazingly well in a particular type of classroom setting.  While any given setting may be perfect for any given child, every child with autism has unique needs.  Even in an ideal world, “including” a child with autism in a typical class may not be the best choice.  A team made up of parents, teachers, administrators, and therapists who know the child well generally makes decisions about autistic education.


  • Autistic People Have Many Strengths and Abilities.  It may seem that autism is a wholly negative diagnosis.  But almost everyone on the autism spectrum has a great deal to offer the world.  People with autism are among the most forthright, non-judgmental, passionate people you’ll ever meet.  They are also ideal candidates for many types of careers.

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