This Infographic provides some key facts and figures about Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, and also dispels a few myths. I have produced it from information provided by the CDC, autism.org.uk, autism-society.org and commentary by Dr Russell of Exeter University, UK.
As you can see, there has been a continuous rise in the number of children diagnosed with autism, in recent years. There is an ongoing debate as to the causes of this, which has yet to be resolved.
It is not yet clear whether it is due to improved diagnosis, external causes or a combination of both.
Part of the issue is that few potential environmental triggers have been rigorously tested. A study by Dr Russell showed that there has been a big increase in diagnosis over the ten-year period of the study, and initial findings also suggest that there could also be an increase in the proportion of children with symptoms.
The potential for there to be an underlying cause of the increase is important. If there is an underlying cause, then identifying this could provide the potential to reverse the increase. Even if this were true it does not necessarily mean that a treatment could be developed – as it could indicate environmental factors that exacerbate an underlying cause, without identifying what actually causes Autism. It should be noted that the CDC states that, “There are no medications that can cure ASD or treat the core symptoms. However, there are medications that can help some people with ASD function better. For example, medication might help manage high energy levels, inability to focus, depression, or seizures.” In reality, behavioural treatments are suited to most children, and in particular those with Aspergers can live fulfilling lives. For further information, consult:
http://www.autism.org.uk/ The National Autistic Society, in the UK.
http://www.autism-society.org/ The Autism Society, in the USA.