Thursday, October 10, 2013

Autism 101 Community Education Event Scheduled

A community education event is scheduled on Thursday, October 17, 2013, 5:30pm at Alexander County Head Start,  5860 Hwy 64/90 West, Taylorsville.  This event will provide information on Autism 101-The Facts.  Dinner will be provided.  Child care is available by reserving a spot-call 828-632-3799.

One of the complex group of disorders of brain development is termed Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism.  Characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors, autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. This increase can partly be explained with the increased awareness and improved diagnosis. Studies have also shown that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls.

Some of the common signs of autism include impaired social interaction.  Even in early infancy a baby with ASD may not respond to people or focus on only one item for long periods of time.  A child with ASD might appear normal and then withdraw in a social setting.  Often children with ASD do not respond to their name and avoid eye contact with others.  The child may not understand social clues, like facial expression or tone of voice in others. 

The child with ASD may have repetitive movements such as rocking back and forth or in self-abusive behavior, head-banging or biting.   Speech may be delayed.  Children do not know how to play with other children.  Some children speak in a sing-song voice and talk about a narrow range of favorite topics.

Additional signs may include difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances.  The most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age.  Outcomes for children with ASD are improved through early intervention with proven behavioral therapies.  A psychologist or psychiatrist evaluates individuals for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If you have concerns about your child, talk with your child’s physician.  A website with information on Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder is .  Autism Speaks is dedicated to improving the lives of persons with autism and their families.