What is Autism?

Autism is one of a group of diagnoses identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V, American Psychiatric Manual of Mental Disorders, 2013). These disorders included autistic disorder, Rett’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD.NOS). With the new DSM-V, all of these subtypes have been merged into what will now be called, Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disorders that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. The word “spectrum” is important in understanding Autism because it refers to the wide range of behavioral signs, symptoms, and degrees of severity that affect individuals. Each individual on the spectrum is an individual, and their needs are unique and specific to the diagnosis.

There are other disabilities and disorders that also have a high incidence of Autism. Fragile X is a genetic disorder that sometimes is the cause of the Autism Diagnosis.

What is the prevalence of Autism?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children in the United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a surveillance summary report, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children Aged 8 Years- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010.” Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls – with 1 in 42 boys identified. To view the full report, click here.

As your child grows and develops, there are many developmental milestones that occur. If you suspect your child has Autism there are several red flags to look for;  speak to your physician  about screening for Autism , learn the signs and act early.

There are Best Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorders in Vermont.

Where can you go if you have concerns about your young child?

There are many resources and websites to visit that are available to help families navigate a new diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Fact sheets on Autism Spectrum Disorders are available in English and for other languages, click here .

For a You tubevideo in Somali, click here.

The development of this website was fully funded by a grant to the Vermont Department of Health from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.

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