I was thinking about what to write today and the word Autism kept coming to the front so I thought I would share with you some information and current statistics from Autism Speaks:
- Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
- Autism prevalence figures are growing
- Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
- Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
- Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
- Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
The numbers will be different in a year or two, they have already increased since Jake was diagnosed. When Jake was diagnosed in 2011 the statistics were 1 in 110.
There is no conclusive one reason as to what causes autism. One of the first myths I heard was autism was caused due to poor parenting; cold and distant parents. There are a ton of these myths out there from refrigerator parents to vaccines to the environment. As of now there is not one factor that is listed as the sole reason a child is autistic. I’ve researched this trying to find an answer as to what caused Jake’s autism. Every time I read a new study or read older studies they just don’t apply to Jake. I think for some children (and this is my opinion only) that vaccines do cause their child’s autism, food allergies have caused their child’s autism and even the environment caused their child’s autism. I could go on and on about all of this. If you were to Google causes of autism it would take you days to get through all the information that is out there.
Here is what Autism Speaks has to say:
Not long ago, the answer to this question would have been “we have no idea.” Research is now delivering the answers. First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.
As I said before, I am not 100% certain as to what caused Jake’s autism; it could have been my age (I was 40 when I had Jake), it could have been the environment. I have researched, read countless books and asked a lot of questions. What I’ve determined is Jake was born with Autism, he was different the moment I laid eyes on him. As his mother, I could just tell something was “off”. I may never know why and at this point, where we are right now, I am going to say it doesn’t matter. Jake is Autistic. We work hard. Jake works harder. Jake will have struggles, he will always have to push himself a little harder than his typical peers and he will face many obstacles in his life. Autism is scary but it is a part of who my child is.
Autism WILL not define Jake. Jake will define who he is and who he wants to be!
*If you want to learn more about Autism go to the links posted above. Autism Speaks the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.*