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Autism News and Views will provide regular updates on news about Autism. In addition, we have provided important links to a wide variety of web sites that will provide you with information on Education, Health, Safety, Advocacy, Service Providers and much more. Use Autism News and Views as your source for the best information on the Autism Spectrum.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Do We Now Know About Contributing Factors To Autism?; What Gifts Do Parents Think Are The Best?; The Cost of Raising A Child With Autism; Autism Brainstorm: An Autism Interactive Community

"Don't dis the ABILITY."  Jerry Komar, Editor Autism News and Views

Contributing Factors To Autism: What We Now Know

Within the last week, we've seen a study that suggests autism could be linked with mothers' obesity during pregnancy. Just a week earlier, news broke that the incidence of autism is actually 1 in 88, not 1 in 110. So these studies and more beg the next question: What do we NOW know about contributing factors to autism? We know the following with a high degree of certainty:
  • We now know that about 15-20% of children have a genetic mutation that causes autism.
  • We now know if parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child diagnosed with autism is almost 20% (U.C. Davis study)
  • We also found that environmental pollution may be a factor in autism.
  • We now know that both older fathers and mothers are a higher risk of having a child with autism. Studies from Harvard and Israel also suggest that infertility treatments are linked to a higher risk of autism.
  • Prematurity and low birthweight (babies weighing less than 41/2 pounds ) was found to be linked to autism. 5% had been diagnosed with autism by age 21.
  • Studies suggest that some medications increase the risk of autism. For example, a study published last year suggested children exposed prenatally to antidepressants had a higher risk of autism.
  • Pediatrics released a study this week that suggests obesity during pregnancy would increase the incidence of autism to a 1 in 53 chance. (Note: While this study suggests maternal obesity may be a risk factor for autism, keep in mind it's only one of many and may not even be a strong link).
(USA TODAY & Washington Post)

What Gifts Do Parents Believe Are The Best For Children With Autism?

Let's be honest. Who should know what gifts are the best for children with autism? Hands down, it's their parents. "HealthPop" from CBS News published a list of toys and gifts recommended by parents. These included, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
  1. Interactive Educational DVD's
  2. Tried and true: Books
  3. Puzzles
  4. Video Games
  5. Gift Cards
  6. Sensory Toys
  7. Legos
  8. The IPad

The Cost of Autism

According to a study commissioned by Autism Speaks, it is now estimated the cost of providing care to an individual with autism is $1.4 million over their lifetime. For individuals with autism who also have intellectual disabilities, the cost can reach as high as $2.3 million. Those costs are in addition to associated costs of raising any child including food, education and housing.

These costs are placing an almost unbearable financial burden on families. In many cases, parents are taking out home equity lines of credit just to pay for therapies such as behavioral, occupational and speech therapies.

In addition to these costs, parents who have children with autism earn 28% less than families whose children do not have health limitations. This is largely due to parents having to take time off from work to attend to their child or work part-time to help coordinate a variety of services every child with autism needs.
(CNN Money)

Autism Brainstorm: An Interactive Community

Autism Brainstorm is an interactive online community celebrating the abilities of everyone on or around the autism spectrum. And it's FREE.

The community is comprised of three distinct components:
  1. A Professional Online Magazine Publication
  2. A Social Networking Hub
  3. A Philanthropic Opportunities Hub
For more information, please visit: http://www.autismbrainstorm.org/

Conference Information

Arizona Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Conference. May 4, 2012. Hilton Tucson Golf and Tennis Resort in Tucson, AZ. For more information contact: 800.489.0727.