Autism rates for children are growing at an alarming pace. Recent statistics indicate that about one percent of children between 3 and 17 years of age suffer from some form of the disease. Boys are more likely to suffer from the condition than girls. It is estimated to occur in one out of every 88 births this year. In fact, it is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the country. The high autism rates are also causing some economic concern. Experts believe that caring for an individual with autism costs about $3.2 million over his lifespan, meaning that the annual cost of autism care will be anywhere between $200 and $400 billion dollars over the next decade.
The high autism rates in children are also concerning because the medical community has been unsuccessful in finding the exact cause for the condition. Some of the possible causes include:
• Mercury poisoning
• Changes in the digestive tract
• Increased sensitivity to vaccines
• Inability to absorb and use vitamins and minerals effectively
Critics of modern lifestyle also blame high autism rates on toxic environmental conditions prevailing in the world today. The air, water and food pollutants can impair the development of the brain and lead to high prevalence of autism. They support changes in lifestyle to improve the symptoms. They also support the use of certain natural supplements to treat the condition. However, you should remember that these alternative treatment methods have not been tested scientifically.
The high autism rates in children can also be attributed to the lack of proper treatment method. Most experts agree that early diagnosis is the key. Children who receive behavioral therapy and other supportive therapies such as occupational therapy and speech therapy early on in their lives have a greater chance of leading successful and independent lives. You will notice high autism rates in children who were diagnosed late or did not receive the required therapy immediately due to poor economic or social conditions.
In spite of the high autism rates, only 5 percent of total research funding in the country is dedicated towards finding a cause for the condition. Many private and government agencies are working hard to improve this funding. They are hoping to find the exact cause and cure. Life can be a challenge for children with autism and their families. Some children improve over time and become independent. Others may remain dependent on therapy all their lives. They may always require supportive assistance. The outlook essentially depends on the severity of the symptoms and the type of treatment.