- As many as 1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism.
- Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a rate of 10-17% per year. At these rates, it is estimated that the prevalence of autism could reach four million Americans in the next decade.
- 60 billion in annual costs. In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion.
- Autism is now considered the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States.
- Autism is more common than multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis or childhood cancer.
- Autism is the most common of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), a category of neurological disorders characterized by "severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development", including social interaction and communications skills.
- Autism is a spectrum disorder.
- The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe.
- Autism is consistent around the globe, but is four times more prevalent in males than females.
- Autism knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries.
- Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism's occurrence.
- The age that most children start showing symptoms of autism is between 18 and 24 months.
- Since autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as 18 months of age, intervention can begin during the period when the brain is most malleable.
- Early intervention can result in a significant increase in IQ and language ability and a decrease in support services needed later in childhood.
- No one knows exactly what causes autism in most cases, but scientists think that both genetic and environmental factors might play a role.
Autism Society of America
National Alliance for Autism Research
The New England Center for Children
University of Washington
Autism Information Center
Centers for Disease Control