About Autism Spectrum Disorder

autismAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.

Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.

There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

The CDC reports the prevalence of autism to 1 in every 88 children in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. The issuance of this report caused a media uproar, but the news was not a surprise to the Autism Society or to the 1.5 million Americans living with the effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Currently, the Autism Society estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism.*

*Includes research, insurance costs and non­-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.

Some Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (examples: hand­flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make­believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects
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