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April is Autism Awareness Month and over the past two days I have been reading a few articles that I think are worth sharing.  They do say knowledge is power, right?

As of March last year, the CDC estimated that 1 in 88 children are identified as autistic and those numbers could be growing, as many are still being diagnosed.

What we know:

  • Autism is on the rise, since 2009 there has been a 23% increase in cases identified.
  • Boys are more susceptible than girls; currently the rate is about 1 in 54 boys while only 1 in 252 girls.
  • Early screening and diagnosis makes a difference.  The CDC has provided guidelines to looking for early signs:                                                   http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html
  • It can be expensive. ABC News reported on some of the costs that are affecting many families across the nation as insurance companies try to catch up with the times.

What we don’t know:

A lot, there is just not enough research!  There are theories about environment, genetics, low birth weight, and drugs but a concrete answer has still not been found.  At one point it was rumored that vaccinations were a contributing factor, but that argument has seemed to have been deflated.

Does your geographical region have anything to do with it? The Wall Street Journal notes that the CDC numbers are not reflective of the entire country. Alabama, for instance saw a decrease in cases being reported while Florida saw an 80% jump.

The Wall Street Journal also reported in 2012 that older men seem to be at a higher risk for contributing to autism.  Men are now having children closer to the age of 33 and as they get older, their genes mutate which contributes to both autism and schizophrenia. Yet, there are plenty of young parents out there with autistic children, so that can’t be the only reason.  Also, there are many families with multiple children and only one child may be affected.

Clearly, we do not have enough research so for more information you can check out Autism Speaks  or show support by purchasing an Autism magnet, bracelet, or scarf through the Autism Society. 

Lets figure this out. Best, T