Figure 1: United States Autism Growth from 1975 to 2012Cabrera1INTRODUCTIONMark is two years old. His parents brought him to see his pediatrician for a checkup and inform him that lately he has been very sensitive to certain things and has been making unusual attachments to some of his belongings. With further discussion it is learned that Mark lashed out when his daily routinechanged for the checkup.The doctor explains thatMark displays signs ofAutism. Worried, Mark’sparents ask if there isanything that they can dohelp their son. Thepediatrician explained thatthe course of action theyshould take is to becomemore aware of autism andmindful of Mark to see ifhe develops any furthersymptoms. Certain aspects of autism remain a mystery and cases of autism are increasing exponentially. Because of this it is extremely important to understand what is known about autism. In order to truly understand autism, it is necessary to know its different types, its symptoms, its potential causes, and its treatments.
Cabrera2Prevalence.The number of children diagnosed with autism has been increasing at an alarming rate. A study done in the early nineteen eighties showed that only five children in every ten thousand children were diagnosed with an autistic disorder (Parks 9). A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1, showed that about one in eighty eight children are diagnosed with an autistic disorder (“Facts about” 1) . Autism is not rare. There has been a six hundred percent increase in autism cases since nineteen seventy-five [Refer to Figure 1]. The Autism Society of America2(ASA)stated in 2008 that “Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a startling rate of 10-17 percent per year. At this rate, the ASA estimates that the prevalence of autism could reach 4 million Americans in the next decade” (Parks 28). Currently between one million and one and a half million people are diagnosed with an autism disorder, and according to Autism Speaks3, more children are diagnosed with autism each year than AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined (Parks 32) . TYPES OF AUTISMWhen most people hear the word “Autism” they think of a singular disorder, when in factthere are three major types of Autism: Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (“Facts about” 1) . These are also known as Autistic Spectrum 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-a federal agency in the Department of Health and Human Services that investigates, diagnoses, and tries to control or prevent diseases.2The Autism Society of America (ASA)- the oldest and one of the largest autism awareness groups in the United States whose goal is to increase public awareness about autismand theday-to-day issues faced by people with autism as well as their families and the professionals with whom they interact.