Nine Reasons to Learn about Autism Awareness

Why you should know about and understand autism

Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG 

We all need to learn about autism. Here are some reasons why.

Millions of people worldwide have been diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder. Conditions on the spectrum include not only autism but Asperger and Rett syndromes, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified. In the United States, more than 1 in 50 boys and 1 in 250 girls are believed to be autistic.

The cost of autism is over six billion dollars annually. As taxpayers, we are paying the bill. People on the autism spectrum have higher rates of not completing high school and unemployment than the general population.

Early diagnosis and treatment helps those affected by it to lead better lives. Prompt diagnosis and treatment also reduces costs by approximately two thirds. Some people who receive early treatment are able to overcome difficulties to an extent that they are no longer considered as having an autism spectrum disorder.

Older parents, folic acid deficiencies, difficult pregnancies and births are linked to a high rate of autism. Having a healthy pregnancy reduces risks of having an autistic child. Women need to be healthy prior to and during pregnancy.

The incidence of autism has increased dramatically. Although some of the increase is related to earlier and better diagnosis, the actual prevalence is increasing. We do not know why. This needs further exploration.

There is a genetic link for autism in some cases; however, the majority of scientists believe that autism is a combination of genetic and environmental factors.  We may not be able to change genetics at this time, but we can provide optimal environments to reduce the incidence and severity of autism.

Shockingly, most treatments for autism are not covered by insurance. People are undertreated, resulting in more suffering and less success in many facets of life.

People with autism frequently have neurological, communication and emotional challenges. In addition, allergies and gastrointestinal problems may occur. The more that is known, the more effective treatments can be provided. The mysteries of autism may be solved by examining approaches that expand understanding of autism to beyond a "brain" disorder. Nutritional therapies may be useful adjuncts to conventional treatments. Natural remedies may safely reduce gastrointestinal complaints, sleep difficulties, restlessness and attention struggles which are prevalent among people on the autism spectrum.

Children on the autism spectrum are misunderstood and sometimes bullied. They often feel isolated due to problems with communication. Many of these individuals are exceptionally bright and have much to offer if provided with compassionate surroundings.

It is important to learn about autism as individuals to help prevent autism spectrum disorders from occurring. As a society, we need to be concerned about the increased incidence of it.

As friends, co-workers and neighbors, learning about the disorder promotes kindness.

If considering having a baby, it is essential to get early prenatal care.

People with autistic loved ones need to be able to obtain resources and support in order to cope and help their loved one to excel. Autism affects everyone, so we need to learn as much as we can about this spectrum of disorders.

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