Autism: Risk Keeps Growing

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The number of children diagnosed with autism appears to be rising. It is not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism or a real increase in the number of cases (cnn).

Autism is a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders which appear in early childhood, usually before age three. Though symptoms and severity vary, all autism spectrum disorders affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It used to be diagnosed in 1 of every 88 children but it is now increasing to 1 in every 68 children, according to

Autism does not have a single known cause, but genetic and environmental factors may be playing a role. Some genes that are inherited make a child more susceptible to the disorder. Viral infections and air pollutants during pregnancy also play a role in triggering, reports autismspeaks.

Boys are four times more likely to develop the disorder than girls and family history also puts into it. If one child has it then there is a risk for another to have autism. Children with fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, epilepsy, and Tourette syndrome are also at a higher than normal risk of having the disorder.

If a child is diagnosed earlier, there are better chances of overcoming the difficulties that come with autism. Most are diagnosed after the age of 4, but can be diagnosed as early as 2 years old. It is important that these children get the help they need to overcome this disorder as early as possible. Not enough professionals who are trained for this and it is hard to get paid.

Autism is definitely a “have and have-not” disorder, and the new numbers show even more people will need services that are lacking (cnn).