What is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. Autism is a spectrum disorder and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees.
An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected. Autism affects one in 110 children, and one in every 70 boys, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. Government statistics suggest the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually. People with autism process and respond to information in unique ways. In the past, it was believed that signs of autism didn’t show up until about 2 years of age; now we know they can show up at 6 months. The earlier they can receive help, the more chance they have for success.
The diagnosis, which can range from very mild to quite severe and can impact individuals in different ways, is determined not by a simple test but via a range of evaluations by counselors and psychologists. Autism can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is no known cure, but many with autism can show significant improvement with therapies and other interventions; especially with intense early intervention, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Current treatments include a range of behavior and communication therapies, dietary interventions, medication, and alternative medicine, according to the CDC. 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 the disorder.
14 signs of autism
May avoid eye contact
May prefer to be alone
Echos words or phrases
Difficulty interacting with others
Spins objects or self
Insistence on sameness
Inappropriate attachments to objects
Inappropriate laughing or giggling
May not want cuddling
Difficulty in expressing needs; may use gestures
Inappropriate response or no response to sound
No real fear of dangers
Apparent insensitivity to pain
Sustained, unusual or repetitive play; uneven physical or verbal skills
Autism support group
The Center hosts an Autism Support Group which meets monthly. If you would like more information, please contact Randy Christian at 325-646-9574 or email Randy.
Our website offers links to many external organizations, such as educational resources and non-profit associations. While we offer these links for your convenience, we cannot attest to the accuracy of the information provided by these sites. Our linking to a website does not constitute an endorsement of that site, or of the organization it represents, or of the content or products it offers, either by CFLR or any of its employees.
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
Autism Society of America
The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.
National Autism Association
The mission of the National Autism Association is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.
Autism Research Institute
The Autism Research Institute (ARI), a non-profit organization, was established in 1967. For more than 40 years, ARI has devoted its work to conducting research, and to disseminating the results of research, on the triggers of autism and on methods of diagnosing and treating autism. We provide research-based information to parents and professionals around the world.
Future Horizon Autism
Future Horizons was created to meet the needs of teachers, therapists, and family members who face the challenge of autism. Our books, videos, and conferences are geared to bring you the most current information possible to assist in that challenge. It is our strong belief that every child and adult with autism can improve and contribute to the lives of those who love them and, in many ways, contribute to society.
For more information, call (325) 646-9574