Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Autism Spectrum Disorders are the result of a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain. It is four to five times more common in males and occurs in all social and ethnic groups. Family income, lifestyle and education do not affect the chance of occurrence. Autism has no known cause or cure.
Autism interferes with the development of the brain in reasoning, social interaction and communication skills. People with autism typically have deficiencies in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate and relate to others. They may resist changes in routine, exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking, etc.) and have unusual responses to people or attachments to objects. Sometimes aggressive or self-injurious behavior occurs.
Based on the current statistics, more than 4,000,000 people in the U.S. (almost 70,000 in South Carolina) have some form of autism. Yet the majority of the public, including some professionals in the medical, educational and vocational fields, are still unaware of how autism affects behavior. Progress is being made in developing more effective teaching methods and other interventions for individuals with autism.
Today the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta released the latest autism prevalence rates. These statistics are based on 2010 data. Researchers reviewed both health and educational data for 8 year olds from 11 states across the country.
Based on their research, the CDC announced the autism prevalence rate at 1 in 68. This is nearly a 30% increase over the previous rate of 1 in 88 that was based on 2008 data.
Boys continue to be affected by autism at much greater rates than girls. For boys, an estimated 1 in 42 has an autism spectrum disorder, while for girls the rate is 1 in 189.
The research also showed that almost 50% of those with autism have average or above-average intelligence.
The South Carolina Autism Society sees this continued increase as further evidence of the need for services across the lifespan for those affected by autism. Services are vital starting with early-intervention, and continuing through school age and adulthood. Individuals affected by autism may need medical care, therapies, educational services and accommodations, employment and opportunities for independent living. Further, they need to be understood and accepted as contributing members of society.
We will continue to work towards these goals, and towards ensuring that all individuals with autism spectrum disorders reach their maximum potential.
To learn more about autism and the South Carolina Autism Society, please visit our website at scautism.org or contact us at 803-750-6988.
Get Resources and Connect Families to Services and Support in South Carolina
Family Resource Center for Disabilities and Special Needs
South Carolina Autism Society
South Carolina Department of Education
South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs