Myth: Autism is one specific condition.
Fact: Autism is a developmental disability defined by a criteria of behaviors. It's known as a "spectrum disorder," meaning that it affects people in different ways and to different degrees.
Myth: Autism is caused or triggered by childhood vaccines.
Fact: There is no evidence that any childhood immunization is associated with an increased risk of autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Causes of autism are not fully understood.
Autism is believed to be the result of abnormalities of the brain. Ongoing studies continue to research the role of genetics and heredity, and what may trigger the disability in children susceptible to autism.
Myth: Autism is rare.
Fact: Estimates indicate that 1 of every 110 children born in the United States develops autism, and that autism affects 1 in every 70 boys.
Myth: The symptoms of autism are always the same.
Fact: Symptoms of autism can vary significantly. While children may show some signs between ages 18 and 24 months, symptoms typically are more evident in children between 2 and 6 years of age. Signs of possible autism may include failure to babble, gesture, speak single words by 16 months or speak two-word phrases by 2 years old. A loss of developmental skills can be a sign at any age.
There are no medical tests for autism, however, qualified medical professionals can make a medical diagnosis using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association.
Myth: There is no treatment for autism.
Fact: There are a variety of treatments for autism, and research has shown that early diagnosis and treatment can be very effective. Individuals respond differently to treatment, and what works well for one person may not always work well for others. Treatments are often categorized as nonmedical, biomedical and communication techniques.
To learn more about autism spectrum disorders, visit the Autism Society online. To find out how to get help at Kendall Regional Medical Center, call our free, 24-hour Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-256-7719. Nurses can answer health questions or refer you to a physician and make an appointment.
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