April is National Autism Awareness month, and the increase of autism diagnoses in the United States is quickly becoming a hot health topic.
According to renowned commentator Robert Macneil, “Autism now affects more American children than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. In the last decade, the numbers of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum have risen rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control now puts the rate at one in 110.”
Macneil has an autistic grandson, and collaborated with PBS to put together a series currently running on PBS about autism and current autism information.
Mayo Clinic defines autism as “one of a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that appear in early childhood — usually before age 3. Though symptoms and severity vary, all autism disorders affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others.”
While there aren’t specific, known causes for autism, theories abound as to what causes autism including negative reactions to childhood vaccinations, food allergens (popular “autism diets” are gluten free and/or dairy free), heavy metals in the body, and more.
In an interview with Macneil for the autism broadcast series, anthropologist Richard Grinker, a professor at George Washington University, attributed the autism increases with the broader definition of autism currently in place. Grinker isn’t alone; roughly half of scientists and researchers conclude the increase in autism in the U.S. is simply a result of the wider definition of autism.
“They [increased autism diagnoses] were there all along, perhaps, but because we’re getting better at locating them, finding them and delivering services to these children and adults who really need help,” says Grinker. Environmental influences and genetics are other popular theories for the current increase in autism.
According to the nonprofit organization, Austism Speaks: “There is a growing interest among researchers about the role of the functions and regulation of the immune system in autism – both within the body and the brain. Piecemeal evidence over the past 30 years suggests that autism may involve inflammation in the central nervous system. There is also emerging evidence from animal studies that illustrates how the immune system can influence behaviors related to autism.”
While ActiveForever doesn’t offer products specifically geared towards autistic children, some of the independent living aids can help make your home more safe for children with autism. Whether you are at home, outside, or traveling, many of our child safety monitors can help you know where your child is at all times and keep them safe. If you have a swimming pool a pool alarm like the Safety Turtle Pool Alarm is a necessity. Occupational and physical therapists enjoy the wide range of innovative therapy products we carry. If you’ve found an ActiveForever.com product be particularly helpful or life changing for a child with autism, please share that with us in the comment section below or email to info@ActiveForever.com.