With more children being diagnosed with autism today than in past eras, much debate has arisen in the medical community and within families even. What constitutes the diagnosis of autism? What level of disability will arise once a diagnosis has been made? Experts Cleringhouse LLC expert witnesses are world leaders who grapple with these questions and more every day.
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Taken from Wikipedia.org:
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life. These signs often develop gradually, though some children with autism reach their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent in early childhood, typically before age three.
While autism is highly heritable, researchers suspect both environmental and genetic factors as causes. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated withagents that cause birth defects. Controversies surround other proposed environmental causes; for example, the vaccine hypotheses have been disproven. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering hownerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met
Globally, autism is estimated to affect 21.7 million people as of 2013 As of 2010, the number of people affected is estimated at about 1–2 per 1,000 worldwide. It occurs four to five times more often in boys than girls. About 1.5% of children in the United States (one in 68) are diagnosed with ASD as of 2014, a 30% increase from one in 88 in 2012. The rate of autism among adults aged 18 years and over in the United Kingdom is 1.1%. The number of people diagnosed has been increasing dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses; the question of whether actual rates have increased is unresolved