April 2, 2010 will mark the third annual celebration of World Autism Awareness Day.  While recognition of Autism Spectrum Disorders continues to increase; so does the incidence.  Here are some facts:

–  Estimated prevalence 1 in 110 children have an autism spectrum disorder
–  67 children are diagnosed per day
–  1 in 70 boys is on the autism spectrum
–   57% increas in just 4 years
–  A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
–  More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
–  Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
–  Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
–  Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
–  There is no medical detection or cure for autism

Despite not having any known medical cure, early recognition and intervention have been shown to be effective in improving outcomes.  We were lucky; we recognized the signs of Autism in my son early (at 15 months) and began intervention at 18 month.  April 2nd is my son’s 3rd birthday.  After 18 months of working with our wonderful treatment team: including a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and child psychologist, my son now is able to communicate most of his needs (through a combination of words & sign language) and even asks for me to “wok” him at night.  He still has far to go; he is more than 50% delayed in areas of communication, social interaction, and adaptive functioning, but the changes we have witnessed have been phenomenal and have occurred as result of diligent intervention by all members of our team.

Please join with us on this 3rd annual World Autism Awareness Day to help raise awareness for Autism.  There are many ways to participate including joining with Autism Speaks to “Light It Up Blue” for Autism.

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