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According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of an autism spectrum disorders
diagnosis is 10 times more likely than it was 10 years ago. Currently, one out of every 110 children is considered to have some
form of autism. Many experts believe that number may continue to rise. The rising rates of autism are being reported
worldwide.

Autism remains one of the greatest mysteries of medicine viewed as a fairly new condition described in 1943. Although autism
will be diagnosed in more than 25,000 U.S. children in 2008, which is more than new pediatric cases of AIDS, diabetes and
cancer combined, scientists and doctors still know very little about the neurological disorder. There is no blood test, no scan,
not a single test that can detect autism. Diagnosis relies totally on behavioral observation and screening.

Increases in the frequency of autism and autistic spectrum disorders in recent years have increased concern over possible
environmental causes. Neurologists and parents desperately want to unlock the mystery of autism. Recent comparison of
autism rates by year of birth for specific regions provides the strongest origin for tendency evaluation. These assessments
show large recent increases in rates of autism and autistic spectrum disorders in the U.S.

The Autism Puzzle

Doctors know more about autism than ever before, however, plenty of questions remain unanswered. Over the past few years,
it has become clear that genetics play a big role in the development of autism. Early intervention is beneficial in promoting
communication, socialization, and learning. Through the ages of 0 to 5 years, there is an immense amount of change that
occurs in the brain and brain chemistry. But researchers believe something, perhaps a trigger sets off autism in a child. If
scientists find that trigger, they could find the missing piece of the autism puzzle. It’s believe the cause maybe a combination of
being genetically vulnerable, and then having some kind of social or toxic exposure that inclines the child more.

Some experts believe heightened awareness has led more parents to have their children evaluated for autism. Others point to the
fact that the definition of autism has been developing and children who would have once been considered "quiet" or "socially
inept" are now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, three distinctive behaviors characterize autism: lack of
social interaction can be interpreted as hearing impairments, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication delays in
language development can be explained by the result of “late-talkers”, lastly obsessive interests and the repetitive behaviors of
autistic children can also make them appear to be “easy” children, since they may make few demands. But children with autism
display these symptoms in many different ways, some as mild as avoiding eye contact, while others are totally absorbed in a
world of their own.

Autism’s Future Needs

The new national study showing higher than anticipated incidences of autism comes as no surprise to special education public
school system. The rise in autism cases puts intense pressure on schools to meet the needs of autistic children. The board of
education is overwhelmed trying to accommodate the needs of the increasing number of children diagnosed with autism.

Students with autism require a large number of therapy services (special education teachers, speech-language pathologists,
physical and occupational therapists, etc.), the increase is substantial and it is necessary have enough school personnel trained
in the special education field to deliver much needed instruction. There's one agreement among experts the sooner that children
with autism receives therapy, the more likely they are to develop at least some of the communication skills they will need to
manage in the world.

Since autism and other autism spectrum disorders are life-long condition families are facing future challenges of providing
lifetime care for their autistic children. Educators and school districts need support too, as autistic children require a very
specialized curriculum and teachers with a definite understanding of the unique behaviors of autistic children. Autism has a very
wide spectrum of behaviors and learning problems. Some children with autism are completely nonverbal, while on the other end
of the spectrum, children with milder forms, such as Asperger's syndrome, may be very talkative. The variety of symptoms
makes it particularly challenging for parents to recognize the problem, and for schools to help these children learn in their
precise manner.

Rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders Increasing

Recent reports suggest that the incidence of autism may be substantially increasing. Many parents worry that there may be
something out there that's causing autism. Parents of young children with autism play multiple roles in their children’s life.
Families of autistic children frequently express the need for better access to educational and health services, and the need for
long-term assistance for individuals with more severe forms of autism.

Much has been learned about autism spectrum disorders in the last ten years. Now, with appropriate treatment, many people
with autism are active, participating members of their communities. People with autism can learn to stabilize and cope with their
disability, often quite well. While each individual is unique, it may help to know that:

• Many children with autism are learning in regular education classrooms with their peers.

• Students with autism spectrum disorder may choose to continue their education beyond high school. Some people with autism
graduate from college.

• Adults with autism, even those who face challenging traits, are capable of holding jobs in the community.

• More people with autism are living in a home or community of their own rather than institutions.
• People with autism receive assistance and support in the natural settings of daily life (at school, on the job, and in their homes).

• People with autism spectrum disorder are becoming self-advocates. Some are forming networks to share information, support
each other, and have their voices heard to the public.

• More frequently, people with autism are attending and/or speaking at conferences and workshops on autism.

• People with autism are providing valuable insight into the challenges of this disability by publishing articles and books and by
appearing on television specials about their lives and their disabilities.

For the children with an autism spectrum disorder who are aging-out of the school setting, there is an increased need for
government policies that will provide long-term care. States need to prepare to serve a large adult population with special needs.
Without early assessment and intervention, access to necessary developmental and medical services, and proper health care,
children with autism are being reduced to a lifetime of disability, unemployment and, for many, institutionalization. By focusing
resources on planning and intensive early intervention services, more children with autism would have the opportunity to learn
skills that would assist them live healthy and productive lives.