Being a psych major and currently in the middle of the exam season, I have been studying abnormal psychology all morning. I just finished covering the material for Autism Spectrum Disorders and though I would share some of the fascinating facts:
- The onset for autism is in infancy or early childhood, usually around the age of 2.
- 16/10000 births are likely to be Autistic, and 30-63/10000 births fall into the Autism Spectrum Disorders (have similar qualities to autism but different diagnoses)
- Boys develop Autistic disorder 4.3 times more often than girls.
- There are early warning signs that parents can look for, the sooner the intervention in treatment for autism the better the prognosis (future outcome). These red flags include: No reaction to sounds or name (not due to hearing loss), infant being described as either really good or very difficult, delayed or absent speech (or speech abnormalities such as echolalia), lack of imaginative play replaced with repetitive object play and preoccupations, odd responses to sensory input ( usually none or extreme sensitivity), loss of skills (this can mean toilet training skills and language skills), don't initiate play with others or respond to other's approaches, don't communicate with their eyes ( usually rarely make eye contact), and they usually don't point out things, show things, or engage in play with their parents.
- A very dangerous misconception with Autism is that it is caused by vaccinations. This has lead many people to not vaccinate their children, which can lead to serious illness, re-spreading of previously controlled disease, and even death! The correlation is presumed to be casual because the age of onset is very near to, or after the time when children are to be vaccinated. There has been immense research disproving this casual claim, from the New England Journal of Medicine (2007), The California Department of Health, and Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (2003).
- Autism spectrum disorders are considered to be the most heritable, even more so than schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.
- Lastly the prognosis is most promising for children with an IQ greater than 70, and for cases that have early intervention.
Get more informed, study for finals. :D