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According to the Centres for Disease Control, autism is five times more likely to affect boys (1 out of 42) than girls (1 out of 189). Autism does not discriminate against colour or race – it affects people world-wide. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability, it is estimated that 1 out of 68 newborn babies in the USA has autism. In 2000 the number was 1 in 150 births.
There is a sweeping wide misconception that autism develops around the age of three. In truth, signs of autism begin to present themselves around the age of three.
What’s the difference?
If autism develops around the age of three then one might argue that a trigger exists that caused it. In the late 1990s the patsy was childhood vaccinations. The general public became so frightened by the growing autism epidemic they laid blame anywhere they could. It is important to note that this has been debunked and disproven through studies conducted around the world, but sadly not before cases of measles, mumps, rubella, and polio made a comeback because of this dangerous myth.
The age of three seems to be the magic number for most, but rather than “developing” autism, the symptoms actually begin to present themselves. Prior to the “symptomatic age” children are home with familiar surroundings: house, room, parents, relatives, sights, sounds, etc. Between the age of three and four the child is placed in social situations: play dates and pre-school. They are inundated with new sounds, people, situations, and locations. “Suddenly” the parent of the autistic child realizes that their baby is different.
Like the spectrum, autism is very hard to pinpoint because everyone is unique in their level of disability or giftedness – and any combination thereof.
Sensory overload often causes tantrums or lashing out, general misbehaviour, symptomatic ADHD, excessive rocking or fiddling of the hands.
It is best to remember that people are born on the autism spectrum. They do not go out of their way to be a problem but they do lack social, behavioural, and coping skills. Depending on where they are on the scale, people with autism range from severely challenged to highly gifted. Many people would be surprised to know that some people with autism have very high IQs but often thought of as slow because of their lack of social etiquette or “street smarts”. On the other hand, there are cases of autism that are debilitating enough where they need lifelong care.