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For Every Locked Mind There's a Key to Find

One in 150 children are born with autism, yet so many people do not really understand what autism truly encompasses. This developmental disability is widely misunderstood because of the wide difference in the way it affects different people. The mystery of autism has had some light shed on it by Hollywood with movies like "Mozart and The Whale," "I Am Sam," "The Other Sister," "Rain Man" and "Miracle Run."

WHAT IS AUTISM?
Typically autism is referred to as autistic spectrum disorder, because it effects every person differently and symptoms can be varied. Autism starts at birth or before the child is two and half years old. By appearance, autistic children resemble normal neurotypical children, but they display bizarre and sometimes disturbing behaviors

WHAT CAUSES AUTISM?
While there are some factors that are known to increase the risk of autism in children, there is really no known single cause of autism. It is known that children with autism have differences in size and structure of the brain as compared to those of neurotypical children. Causes like heredity, genetics, birth-related medical problems and even environmental factors are being researched. Many studies have pointed towards the mercury in early childhood vaccines as a cause of autism. Mercury has been removed as an ingredient in childhood vaccines, and only time will show if it dramatically decreases the number of new autism patients.

TREATMENT FOR AUTISM
Autism is treated two major ways: specialized education and nutrition. With specialized education, the importance is recognizing the symptoms early and introducing the treatment plan early. Every treatment plan should cover the child's sensory development, social development, behavior and communication, the four areas in which most autistic children lack. As for nutrition and biomedical treatments, children's diets and metabolism are monitored closely. Also children are likely to have certain foods removed from their diets, most typically those containing yeast, and have regular detoxification.

BEHAVIORAL SIGNS OF AUTISM
Autism is diagnosed when a total of six marked behaviors from the following list are present in the child.
Impairments in nonverbal behaviors in a social setting
Unable to develop peer relationships
Unable to share enjoyment of others
Not participating in social games or play, not including others in play
Delay in development or lack of spoken language
Inability or impairment of sustaining and initiating a conversation
Repetitive phrases and repetition of phrases spoken by others
Little or no variety of make-believe play
Inflexible with routines and daily rituals
Repetitive motions like hand flapping, leg bouncing or other unusual body movements
Easily becomes preoccupied with parts of an object
These behaviors can be the tip of many areas of autism. Children that only display three or four of these behaviors can be diagnosed as Pervasive Developmental Disorder or PDD.

OTHER AUTISM FACTS
Every day, 60 families find out their child has autism.
In the United States, autism is the fastest growing developmental disability.
The annual growth rate of autism in the United States is 10 percent to 17 percent.
Autism gets less than 5 percent of public funding that goes towards all childhood diseases.
If autism is caught and intervened early, there is a two-thirds reduction in lifelong care cost.
1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of autism.

The Autism International Foundation (AIF) is a charitable organization dedicated to providing financial assistance for services to children with autism throughout the world.

We provide this support through the generosity of your donations.