Autism 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 of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.
In March 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 88 births in the United States and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shown on autism as a result of the prevalence increase opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.
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 (this figure 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).
Know the Signs: Early Identification Can Change Lives
Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.
Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships
- Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
The Weimer Group is sensitive to this disease and feels it is important to bring the awareness out in our community. If you are or know someone or a family that is affected by this there are resources out there to assist them. If they are not aware there is a chapter in The Greater Philadelphia area. Their website is: http://www.asaphilly.org/about.php. You will be able to find resources, events, discussion and other information that can help. They are a non-profit organization who is entirely made up of volunteers, representatives of parents, family members and professionals supporting those with ASD, servicing the five county region of SE Pennsylvania – Buck, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia. Their office is located at 1036 Nash Ave, Lansdale, PA 19446 and you can reach their office at: 610-358-5256 for more information.
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