3 facts about autism
1. Early onset
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect an estimated 3.4 out of every 1,000 children ages 3 to 10.
The Institute also says that parents are among the first to notice signs of ASD in children, noticing behaviors, such as unresponsiveness to people or long periods of intense focus on a particular item, usually before the age of 3.
Sudden behavioral shifts such as silence, withdrawal or indifference to social engagement can also indicate symptoms of ASD.
2. Three million Americans affected
According to Autism Speaks, an autism science and advocacy organization, more children will be diagnosed with autism in 2011 than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined.
Autism Speaks also reports that an estimated 3 million individuals in the United States are affected by ASD.
3. No single cause
The Mayo Clinic states that autism has no single known cause. Some causal links have been made to risk factors such as genetic problems and environmental factors, but there are likely many causes for the disorders in general.
Despite ongoing controversy, according to the Mayo Clinic, no reliable study has shown a link exists bewteen autism and certain childhood vaccinations.
Depending on your health care provider and preferences, if you suspect your child exhibits signs of ASD, you may be referred to a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric neurologist and, later, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating the disorder.
If you live in Central Indiana, Angie's List members' ratings and reviews of Indianapolis psychiatrists may help you seek the treatment plan that's right for your loved one.