For over 40 years, the autism community has dedicated the month of April to raising awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD), a developmental disorder presently affecting Americans at an all-time high. Throughout the United States, millions of supporters will gather this month to help fund research, advocacy, awareness, and overall support for a cause that needs immediate attention. While nearly 4 million Americans are living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, April is a great time for those who are unaffected to learn more about autism. If you’re considering taking a stand during Autism Awareness Month this year, here are 4 important facts that may help you better understand why this cause could use your support.
1 in 68 Children is Affected by Autism
Yes, you read that alarming ratio correctly. In 2014, a study showed that a little over 2% of all American children had been diagnosed with an ASD. What has autism researchers baffled is the fact that 1 in 42 boys is diagnosed with autism, while only 1 in 189 girls is affected. Unfortunately, at this point, our only explanation for this is that females are generally less affected by the genetic mutations that are to blame for an autism diagnosis.
Autism Prevalence is Growing
The numbers listed above are certainly unnerving, but perhaps what’s even scarier is the fast pace at which these numbers are growing. In the year 2000, the ratio of children affected by autism was only 1 in 150, meaning that the number of those affected has increased by nearly 120 percent in a span of less than 15 years. These numbers have led us to the conclusion that autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the U.S.
Autism Can’t Be Medically Detected or Cured
Currently, there is no way to medically detect or cure ASD. However, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other types of therapies, as well as certain medications, may help children with ASD function more optimally. Unfortunately, there is still no remedy that fully soothes the severe symptoms that often plague these individuals.
Autism Is Costly
On average, autism costs a family about $60,000 per year. This figure is particularly frightening, particularly when coupled with that fact that seven states still do not require insurance coverage of autism services. The National Institutes of Health is equipped with a $30.86 billion budget, but autism research only sees about 0.55% of this (around $169 million). These are just a few of the many reasons why advocacy is so important to the autism community.
Clearly, Autism is a disorder that is as in need of our attention as it is relentless in its numbers. While ASD affects millions of people in the United States, these facts seem to reinforce the notion that autism both deserves and depends on more people to support the cause. This month, our team at Bernstein Orthodontics asks you to join us by keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities that allow you and your family to get involved in the fight against ASD!