April 2nd World Autism Day
This week marks the 6th Annual World Autism Day on April 2, 2013.
The intention of designating April 2 is to bring autism to the attention of the world. Events will be taking place across the globe raising awareness. In addition, the designation is also meant to encourage early diagnosis and intervention.
What Have We Learned Since The Last World Autism Day In 2012?
As I've written often, the puzzle pieces keep falling into place when it comes to better understanding autism. So what have we learned in just the past year? Some of these include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Just this past week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that now 1 in 50 U.S school children has autism. This translates into about one million children with autism.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association reported last month that women who took folic acid four weeks prior to conception and eight weeks during pregnancy were 40% less likely to have a child with autism.
- The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry reported antiepileptic drugs taken during pregnancy increases the risk of autism.
- More and more airports are making every effort to make the skies friendlier for people with autism, especially children. Air Tran, Continental, Frontier, Emeriates, and Southwest now offer "mock" boarding experiences for individuals with autism. These programs help allay the anxiety associated with the flying experience. In addition, many airports are now involved in these programs.
- Recently, New York University reported that yoga is beneficial in reducing behaviors in children with autism.
- Law enforcement officials throughout the country are now training their officers in how to approach individuals with autism.
- Researchers at the University of SC reported brain imaging may catch autism earlier.
- Studies from CDC and Harvard Medical School suggest women abused in childhood are more likely to have children with autism.
- A study just published by the Journal of Pediatrics reported that there is no evidence of a link of autism to vaccines. To date, approximately 20 studies have shown no such link. For those parents who have concerns regarding vaccines, we urge them to consult with their pediatrician for advice.
- U.C. Davis reported if parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child with autism is approximately 20%.
- Prematurity and low birth weights have been associated with autism.
- Autism Speaks reported the cost of raising one child with autism is now $1.4 million over the child's lifetime.
- More and more studies (most recently the University of Queensland in Australia) are now finding that pet therapy significantly increases positive behaviors in children with autism.
- We have seen an explosion in Apps for autism helping children better communicate.
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