April is Autism Awareness Month
Autism, part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a complex neurobiological disorder is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities. Symptoms range from mild to severe. One milder form of the disorder is known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Other developmental disorders that fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorders are Rett Syndrome, PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child or their child’s failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Some parents describe a child that seemed different from birth, while others describe a child who was developing normally and then lost skills.
Nationally, autism cases are on the rise. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials estimate 1 in 88 children are on the Autism Spectrum, which translates to 1 million US children and teens. Wider screenings and better diagnosis are attributed to the growing numbers.
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States. It costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade. Autism receives less than 5 percent of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases. While the cause of autism remains a mystery, genetics and environmental factors are believed to play a role.
Locally, in Yakima County, approximately 925 children are estimated to be on the Autism Spectrum. Children’s Village and its community partners are dedicated to broadening the depth and breadth of services for children with Autism. Currently, Children’s Village provides comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services as well as social and family support activities for the entire family.
If you have a concern about your child’s development, click here to take an online developmental screening and call your primary care physician for a referral to Children’s Village. For questions or concerns, call Children’s Village at (509) 249-5098