Happy World Autism Awareness Day!

Since I love 2 people with autism, I thought I'd do my part to raise awareness today. Here's some sobering stats:

-Approximately 67 million people worldwide are affected by Autism
-Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the world
-More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with diabetes, cancer and AIDS combined
-Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism (1 in 94 boys; 1 in 150 children overall)
-There is no medical detection or cure for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes

The following "red flags" may indicate that a child is at risk and should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path:

-No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
-No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
-No babbling by 12 months
-No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reachin, or waving by 12 months
-No words by 16 months
-No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
-No response when the child's name is called by 10 months
-Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

There are many theories and much research going into finding the cause of autism. It most definitely is a complex cause with a number of factors that work together against our children otherwise the cause would be much easier to determine. There has long been a debate between the medical community and parents (this is somewhat of a generalization--some in the medical community would be on the side of the parents) about whether early childhood vaccinations contribute as one of the factors to the cause of autism. Many parents see a huge change in their child after certain immunization shots that make them think the shots are a cause of their child's deterioration. The medical community has always refuted this. But last year some parents won a law suit wherein the US government made an unprecedented concession concluding that childhood vaccines contributed to symptoms of autism in 9-year-old Hannah Poling. This is a HUGE statement and opens the doors for more helpful discussion and steps to change. If you are interested or have any young children of your own and are contemplating your immunization choices, click here to read the full article on this case. It is well worth it to be informed on this issue! I fear that the history books will look back on our time and mourn for what we have done to entire generations of children.

Happy World Autism Awareness Day and please spread the news!
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