Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the United States.*
Today, 1 in 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, a 78% increase in six years. Despite this high prevalence, research shows that many parents of young children have very little knowledge about autism and are not seeking help soon enough. This campaign seeks to educate parents about the growing rate of autism in this country and to ultimately increase the level of early detection. The latest effort places emphasis on the importance of learning the signs of autism and seeking early diagnosis since the current age of diagnosis among low income families, particularly African Americans and Hispanics, is higher than the general public.
To this end, PSAs encourage parents of young children to visit www.autismspeaks.org/signs to learn the early signs of the disorder. Because there is currently no cure for autism and no effective means to prevent it, early detection is the crucial first step in helping children with autism. With appropriate early-intervention services from ages 3-5, between 20% and 50% of children diagnosed with autism will be able to attend mainstream kindergarten.
*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2009.