How Autism Aware Are You?

Image“Autistic tendencies” – the term used in the 1970s describing children with intellectual disabilities who also fell within the spectrum.  As educators at that time, we weren’t aware that some children without intellectual disabilities would be diagnosed with autism. Why? High functioning autism and Aspergers were not diagnoses. The early 90s is when we began seeing children diagnosed. Today, in 2013, we are infinitely more knowledgeable about autism as a spectrum disorder, and that knowledge is advancing autism awareness.  However, misconceptions about autism still cloud the community at large. The question is, “How aware are you?”

See if you know whether these statements are true or false.

Autism is 3x more common in boys than girls.

False – Autism is 5x more common.

If your child is not speaking by the age of four, the likely probability is that he or she will never learn to speak fluently.

False – being nonverbal at age 4 doesn’t mean your child will never speak. Nearly half of all children with autism will learn to speak fluently.

Pre-symptom markers of autism can be diagnosed as early as 6 months.

True – Some of the common early signs are:

  • Not responding to his or her name by 12 months
  • Not making eye contact
  • Repetitive movements like hand flapping or rocking
  • Not talking or saying view few words
  • Having one or more of these doesn’t mean your child has autism, but if you see any of these behaviors it’s important to talk to your doctor.

 Vaccines cause autism.

False – No studies have found a link between vaccines and autism.

Men who fathered children after turning 50 increased their grandchildren’s risk of developing autism.

True-if your dad was 55 when he had you; you might have a higher risk. Researchers have also looked at prenatal folic acid and pollution contributing to autism development. There are many factors at play to consider.

1 in 88 children and 1 in 55 boys are diagnosed with ASD.

True and False – One year ago the CDC released a study stating that 1:88 children had a form of ASD. In less than a year, the CDC released an updated survey reporting 1:50 children and 1:33 boys with autism.

While immensely valuable, research in the field of autism sometimes creates a large pool of confusing and often conflicting information.   By staying current on the latest research findings, I hope to provide clarity and help navigate the body of information.

Up next, Tuesday’s post: What does it truly mean when we say 1:50 children are diagnosed with autism?

To learn more about autism, go to

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