AUTISM Facts & Information
.1908: The word autism is used to describe a subset of schizophrenic patients who were especially withdrawn and self-absorbed.
1943: American child psychiatrist Leo Kanner, M.D., publishes a paper describing 11 children who were highly intelligent but displayed "a powerful desire for aloneness" and "an obsessive insistence on persistent sameness." He later names their condition "early infantile autism."
1944: A German scientist named Hans Asperger describes a "milder" form of autism now known as Asperger's Syndrome. The cases he reported were all boys who were highly intelligent but had trouble with social interactions and specific obsessive interests.
1967: Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim popularizes the theory that "refrigerator mothers," as he termed them, caused autism by not loving their children enough. (Spoiler alert: This is completely false.) "Post-World War II, there was a lot of psychoanalytic work done on autism where researchers looked solely at the impact of life experiences," explains Parents advisor Fred Volkmar, M.D., director of the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders. "They didn't consider the role of biology or genetics, which we now understand to be the main cause." Autism is also classified under schizophrenia in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, although scientists now know there is no link between the conditions.
1977: Research on twins finds that autism is largely caused by genetics and biological differences in brain development.
1980: "Infantile autism" is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for the first time; the condition is also officially separated from childhood schizophrenia.
1987: The DSM replaces "infantile autism" with a more expansive definition of "autism disorder," and includes a checklist of diagnostic criteria. UCLA psychologist Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D., publishes the first study showing how intensive behavior therapy can help children with autism--thus giving new hope to parents.
1988: The movie Rain Man is released. It stars Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant who has a photographic memory and can calculate huge numbers in his head. "This was important for raising public awareness of the disorder," Dr. Volkmar notes, although not every kid on the autism spectrum has these kinds of skills.
1991: The federal government makes autism a special education category. Public schools begin identifying children on the spectrum and offering them special services.
1994: Asperger's Syndrome is added to the DSM, expanding the autism spectrum to include milder cases in which individuals tend to be more highly functioning.
1998: A study published in The Lancet suggests that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism. This finding was quickly debunked.
2000: Vaccine manufacturers remove thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) from all routinely given childhood vaccines due to public fears about its role in autism--even though, again, the vaccine-autism link has been debunked.
2009: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 110 children have autism spectrum disorders, up from 1 in 150 in 2007, though the CDC notes that the increase stems at least in part from improved screening and diagnostic techniques.
2013: The DSM-5 folds all subcategories of the condition into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Asperger's Syndrome is no longer considered a separate condition. ASD is defined by two categories: 1) Impaired social communication and/or interaction. 2) Restricted and/or repetitive behaviors
Like Autism, Asperger Syndrome was almost certainly around a very long time before any publications were made describing it or before it was given any official title or name. In 1926, Eva Sucharewa, a Russian neurological scientific assistant, wrote a paper referring to the "Schizoid Personality of Childhood", giving was an account of 6 boys and their behavioral habits and very strongly resembled the findings from Hans Asperger.
Hans Asperger was a Viennese child psychologist who published the first definition of Asperger syndrome in 1944. In four boys, he identified a pattern of behavior and abilities that he called "autistic psychopathy", meaning autism (self) and psychopathy (personality disease). The pattern included "a lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversation, intense absorption in a special interest, and clumsy movements." Asperger called children with AS "little professors" because of their ability to talk about their favorite subject in great detail. It is commonly said that the paper was based on only four boys. However, Dr. Günter Krämer, of Zürich, who knew Asperger, states that it "was based on investigations of more than 400 children".
Asperger was convinced that many of the children he identified as having autistic symptoms would use their special talents in adulthood. He followed one child, Fritz V., into adulthood. Fritz V. became a professor of astronomy and solved an error in Newton’s work he originally noticed as a child. Hans Asperger’s positive outlook contrasts strikingly with Leo Kanner's description of autism, of which Asperger's is often considered to be a high-functioning form.
Near the end of World War II, Asperger opened a school for children with autistic psychopathy, with Sister Victorine. The school was bombed towards the end of the war, Sister Victorine was killed, the school was destroyed and much of Hans Asperger's early work was lost. It was this event that arguably delayed the understanding of autism spectrum conditions in the west.
Interestingly, as a child, Hans Asperger appears to have exhibited features of the very condition named after him. He was described as a remote and lonely child, who had difficulty making friends. He was talented in language; in particular he was interested in the Austrian poet Franz Grillparzer, whose poetry he would frequently quote to his uninterested classmates. He also liked to quote himself and often referred to himself from a third-person perspective.
Asperger died in Vienna on Tuesday 21st October 1980, at the age of 74, not living to see his work either acknowledged or recognized in the English speaking world.before his identification of this pattern of behavior became widely recognized, because his work was mostly in German and barely translated. The term "Asperger's syndrome" was popularized in a 1981 paper by British researcher Lorna Wing MD, FRCPsych and one of the founders of the National Autistic Society (NAS), as a result of having a Autistic Daughter became involved in researching developmental disorders and her findings challenged the previously accepted model of autism presented by Leo Kanner in 1943. Unlike Kanner, Hans Asperger's findings were ignored and disregarded in the English-speaking world in his lifetime. Finally, from the early 1990s, his findings began to gain notice, and nowadays Asperger's Syndrome is recognized as a condition in a large part of the world. And, as often as 1 in 150 babies develop into children with autism.
- A decade ago only 1 in 2,500 were diagnosed with autism. It was 1 in 10,000 in the early 80’s. The disorder was first recognized in 1943.
- 1.5 million Americans have autism.
- As many as 4 million people could have autism by 2015.
- It is the fastest growing developmental disability.
- People with autism account for nearly one-fourth of the 6.2 million special needs Americans.
- 1 in 88 families are impacted by autism.
- The National Institute of Health spent 102 million dollars in 2005 on autism research – a five-fold increase in six years.
- Growth comparisons during the 1990’s:
U.S. population increase: 13%
Disabilities increase: 16%
Autism increase: 172%
- $90 billion annual cost to care for those with autism
- 90% of costs are in adult services
- Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention
- In 8 years, the annual cost will be over $200 billion annually
- People with autism usually appear outwardly normal, which has led it to be known as the “invisible disability.”
- Autism can transform a loving toddler into a detached and uncommunicative child. Researchers aren’t sure of its causes and say there is no cure. And the number of children with autism continues to rise dramatically.
- No one is sure what causes autism but research seems to suggest that it is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. There is even talk of environmental toxins and preservatives in vaccines may play a part.
Autism Facts & Stats Updates in 2016
- Autism now affects 1 in 68 children
- Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls
- About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood
- Autism greatly varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike)
- The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last twenty years
- Comorbid conditions often associated with autism include Fragile X, allergies, asthma, epilepsy, bowel disease, gastrointestinal/digestive disorders, persistent viral infections, PANDAS, feeding disorders, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, OCD, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeping disorders, immune disorders, autoimmune disorders, and neuro-inflammation.
- Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet most underfunded
- A 2008 Danish Study found that the mortality risk among those with autism was nearly twice that of the general population
- Children with autism do progress – early intervention is key
- Autism is treatable, not a hopeless condition
What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder affecting the way a person communicates and relate to people around them. Autism has only been recognized since 1943. Another related condition is Aspergers Syndrome.
Autism occurs in about one of every 88 births. Two decades ago it was one in 10,000. Ten years ago it was 1 in 2,000. Symptoms usually begin to show when these children are between 12 and 30 months. Symptoms may change over the years and all children, including children with autism, learn as they grow.
Those with autism are often also mentally handicapped, which makes the disorder much more challenging for them. Many experience minor lack of muscle coordination.
People with autism are not physically disabled and “look” just like anybody without the disability. Due to this invisible nature it can be much harder to create awareness and understanding of the condition. People with autism can often have accompanying learning disabilities but everyone with the condition shares a difficulty in making sense of the world.
Reality to an autistic person is a confusing, interacting mass of events, people, places, sounds and sights. There seems to be no clear boundaries, order of meaning to anything. A large part of life is spent just trying to work out the pattern behind everything.
What is Aspergers Syndrome?
As soon as we meet a person we make all sorts of judgments. Just by looking we can often guess their age or status, and by the expression on their face or the tone of their voice we can tell immediately whether they are happy, angry or sad and so respond accordingly.
But not everyone does this naturally. People with Aspergers Syndrome find it difficult to read the signals which most of us take for granted. As a result they find it hard to communicate and interact with others.
Aspergers Syndrome is a form of autism, a disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to others. A number of the traits of autism are common to Aspergers Syndrome including:
- Difficulty in communicating
- Difficulty in social relationships
- A lack of imagination and creative play
However, people with Aspergers Syndrome usually have fewer problems with language than those with autism, often speaking fluently though their words can sometimes sound formal or stilted. People with Aspergers Syndrome also do not have the accompanying learning disabilities often associated with autism. In fact, people with Aspergers are often of average or above average intelligence.
Because of this many children with Aspergers Syndrome enter mainstream school and, with the right support and encouragement, can make good progress and go on to further education and employment.
- Characteristics of Autism
You may know a child with autism….
Do they spin around and around?
Is their speech repetitive, like an echo?
Are they attracted to shows like Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy?
Do they like to watch the same movies over and over again?
Are they fascinated with numbers and letters?
Do they seem unafraid of things that they should be afraid of?
Is it hard for them to make eye contact?
Do they shun away from being touched?
Some never learn to use spoken language, while others will only learn the basic language specific to their needs. A child may mostly repeat what he hears (echolalia). Others develop advanced speech, but have problems if in their ability to express feelings or ideas, or in knowing the right way or time to say things.
The actions of others are confusing to these children and they may withdraw from social interactions. Many have difficulty with interactive play. They may have difficulty picking up social clues so their action may not be appropriate for the situation.
With their difficulty understanding abstract ideas, these children usually prefer and learn best through concrete activities. Some show little imaginative play, some have imaginative play, but it tends to follow set themes or interests. Many prefer to repeat the same activities over and over. The child may even “withdraw into himself”, engaging in repetitive self-stimulation such as rocking or rhythmic moving of the hands. These children often seek out the security of routines, and can become very dependent on them. They may avoid new experiences or situations.
It appears from both the observations of others and by first person accounts that these children often experience perceptions differently. Sights, sounds, textures that we easily accept can cause anxiety and even rage in a child. One child, for example, said that red hurt his eyes. Another flew into a rage when she felt the “prickle” of wool. They may find human contact stressful at times.
Difficulties in understanding and articulating their own emotions, or those of others, may cause your child’s response in some situation to appear to be inappropriate. Emotional outbursts are common and it may be difficult for them to regain control. These outbursts may result in a child trying to hurt themselves or others.
- Characteristics of Aspergers Syndrome
Aspergers Syndrome shares many of the same characteristics as autism. The key characteristics are:
Difficulty with Social Relationships
Unlike people with ‘classic’ autism, who often appear to be withdrawn and uninterested in the world around them, many people with Asperger syndrome try hard to be sociable and do not dislike human contact. However, they still find it hard to understand non-verbal signals, including facial expressions.
- Difficulty with Communication
People with Asperger syndrome may speak very fluently but they may not take much notice of the reaction of people listening to them; they may talk on and on regardless of the listener’s interest or may appear insensitive to their feelings.
Despite having good language skills, people with Aspergers Syndrome may sound over-precise or over-literal-jokes can cause problems as can exaggerate language and metaphors; for example, a person with Aspergers Syndrome may be confused or frightened by a statement like ‘she but my head off’.
- Lack of Imagination
While they often excel at learning facts and figures, people with Aspergers Syndrome find it hard to think in abstract ways. This can cause problems for children in school where they may have difficulty with certain subjects, such as literature or religious studies.
- Special Interests
People with Aspergers Syndrome often develop an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collection. Usually their interest involves arranging or memorizing facts about a specialist subject, such as train timetables, Derby winners, or the dimensions of cathedrals.
- Love of Routines
For people with Aspergers Syndrome any unexpected change in routine can be upsetting. Young children may impose their own routines, such as insisting on always walking the same route to school. At school, sudden changes, such as an alteration to the timetable, may upset them. People with Aspergers Syndrome often prefer to order their day according to a set pattern. If they work set hours then any unexpected delay, such as a traffic hold-up, can make them anxious or upset.
- Relentless Persistence pays big time. Carrying the torch and never saying never
- Parents, siblings, and professionals can help those with autism
- Families can cope with the devastating impact autism can have on their children and turn it around
- Early diagnosis and intervention is crucial for those with autism
- The autism epidemic needs the attention of the Federal Government
- Popular myths surrounding autism must be discarded
Autism is a Neuro-biological disorder of the brain. Though the exact cause has not been fully determined, research is still being investigated for the cause. However, we do know that the three main areas of development are impaired and require daily assistance: communication, social development, and the acquisition and use of language. Diet also plays an important role in the recovery of symptoms associated with being on the Spectrum of Autism. To learn more about how diet plays a role, visit Minister L.J. Booker's personal website for personal suggestions. As she is a certified Holistic/Alternative Health Coach (if your browser flags the site as unsecure, it is because the FREE Weebly Application does not contain the additional SEO certification that Google is now requiring). This is per the Weebly staff. Minister L.J. Booker dedicates her own time, energy, resources, and finances for BAFOL and can not pay the extra fees to include SEO to Weebly for her own personal website. However, the link is perfectly safe.
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