According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about two percent of all children have a form of autism. Worldwide, about one percent – or 75 million – people have autism spectrum disorder. What is truly shocking is that autism prevalence has increased almost 200 percent since the year 2000. Because many of us have someone in our lives living with autism spectrum disorder, we should all support Autism Acceptance Month this April. Toward that end, the Coral Gables estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law explain how you can support Autism Acceptance Month.
What Is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex, lifelong developmental condition that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. The Autism experience is different for everyone. It is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is often referred to as a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees. While there is currently no known single cause of Autism, early diagnosis helps a person receive resources that can support the choices and opportunities needed to live fully. Common signs and characteristics of autism include:
- Repetitive behaviors, movements, or phrases
- Lack of response to normal stimuli such as his/her name or visual cues
- Atypical verbal communication or non-speaking
- Difficulty understanding or expressing feelings.
- Avoiding eye contact
What Causes Autism?
There is no known single cause for Autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by differences in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in people with Autism compared to those with neurotypical development. Researchers do not know the exact cause of Autism but are investigating several theories, including the links among heredity, genetics, and medical problems. There has been misinformation about the cause of Autism. It is not caused by vaccines or due to parenting style or nutrition. In many families, there appears to be a pattern of Autism or related disabilities, further supporting the theory that the disorder has a genetic basis.
While no one gene has been identified as causing Autism, researchers are searching for irregular segments of genetic code that people with Autism may have inherited. It also appears that some people are born with a susceptibility to Autism, but researchers have not yet identified a single “trigger” that causes Autism to develop. Other researchers are investigating the possibility that under certain conditions, a cluster of unstable genes may affect brain development in an unexpected way, resulting in Autism. Still other researchers are investigating complications during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances, and exposure to chemicals.
What Can I Do to Support Autism Awareness Month?
Whether you have autism, are the family member of someone with autism, or simply someone who wants to support autism awareness, there are several things you can do to support Autism Awareness Month. Navigate to Autism Speaks to find ways to help that include things such as making a financial pledge, sharing on social media, wearing your support, or light up your home in blue.
The Autism Society of America is also continuing its fifth annual #CelebrateDifferences campaign in honor of Autism Acceptance Month. Every day the Autism Society works to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community to live fully. They believe that acceptance is creating a world where everyone in the Autism community is connected to the support they need, when they need it. Navigate to the Autism Society’s website to find out how you can get involved.
Contact Coral Gables Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning, contact the experienced Coral Gables estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law by calling (305) 456-3255 to schedule an appointment.
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