Autism Facts

What we know about ASD

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder consisting of particular behaviors in three categories:

  1. Communication
  2. Social skills (also called pragmatics)
  3. Behavior (specifically restricted or repetitive behaviors, interests, or actions) 

There are so many myths floating around about Autism and what that means for your child. You may find a well-meaning friend, parent, or family member insisting you “wait and see,” but you may have also heard that early intervention is the most important thing. 

So what do you do?  In the realm of parenting, you may feel like you’re under a microscope ALL THE TIME with everyone (and their mother) telling you how to parent. The truth is, as a parent, it is YOUR intuition and the work you do to self-educate that matters most. Do the research yourself, find out the truth for yourself, and let others’ opinions go! In the meantime, let me share some research with you on the topic.

What causes autism?

The exact cause of autism is currently unknown. Research has shown that genetic traits contribute to autism, and there may be environmental influences that increase or reduce risk in people who are already genetically predisposed to the disorder. Vaccine do not cause autism.

How old does a child need to be to be diagnosed with autism?

Signs of autism can be identified between 6 to 12 months. Signs like minimal eye contact, no pointing, or delayed speech development are usually seen early on. Most professionals who specialize in autism say between 18 months and 24 months is a typical age for diagnosing autism. Most autism diagnoses tend to be considered stable, valid, and reliable at 24 months of age. Because they are young and there is still a significant amount of potential for growth due to their brains still developing, this early intervention is very impactful.

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Are people with autism smart?

There is a common misconception that if a person has autism, then they are not smart. This is simply not true. The statistics show that 69% of people diagnosed with autism have average or above-average intellectual abilities. It’s essential to get this myth out of your mind. Autism does not directly link to someone’s intelligence.

If I have one child with autism, I will have another?

Why are so many children being diagnosed with autism?

As a field of education, childhood development, speech pathology, and psychology, we are getting better at identifying the signs of autism earlier than ever before. We have made significant growth in this area, and now that our tools are better and our knowledge is more significant, it may seem that diagnosis is more prevalent, but that’s simply not the case. It’s merely identified more accurately and much earlier.

Is autism more common in boys?

Yes, autism is much more common in boys; five times more common. For boys, the ratio is 1-in-42, and for girls, the rate is 1-in-189.

Common Questions about Autism

If you have insurance, a great place to start is with your pediatrician. Discuss your concerns with them and ask for a referral for a developmental evaluation from a pediatric psychologist and speech-language pathologist. 

 

If you live in the United States and your child is under the age of three years old, contact your state Early Start program and ask for a developmental evaluation from their team of professionals. These services are state-funded and free of charge.

 

If you live in the United States and your child is under the age of three years old, contact your local school district and ask for a developmental evaluation by the school psychologist. These services are state-funded and free of charge.

Contacting a licensed professional in your area is the best way to get answers, but of course, this process takes time. I'm sure you are feeling worried and want to start something right away to help your child. That's why I've created the online course for parents called How to Teach a Toddler to Talk.

Yes! As a speech-language pathologist, I’ve helped scores of autistic children learn to communicate. Waitlists for evaluations can be quite long, and speech therapy is not as accessible during the covid-19 pandemic, so while you pursue in-person services, enroll in my online course for parents.

One of the critical skills that autistic children struggle with is communication, and that is what speech-language pathologists are best at treating! I specialized in this autism speech therapy during my master's program in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. In my DIY online course for parents, I share my step-by-step process for helping your child from home.

An estimated 60% of autistic people learn to talk in some manner through intervention. I'd love to share my expertise with you in my online program, How to Teach a Toddler to Talk! and give you tangible steps to start today with your child.

Check out Adrianna’s story. She’s a mother of a child with autism and she found help through my online course.

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Disclaimer: This information is meant for general education and not to diagnose. Every child is different, and Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental disorder that can manifest differently in other people.

Note: I am electing to use identity-first language to describe the Autistic community in this blog because it is the preference of many Autistic people.

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