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Navigating the 1 in 36 Autism Epidemic: How to Find the Best ASD Resources for Your Child

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that affects millions of children worldwide. Autism is a condition that affects a child's ability to communicate, interact socially, and behave appropriately. The latest statistic just released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that autism now affects 1 in 36 children. This is quite alarming, especially considering that when I started doing behavioral therapy in the late 1980's and early 1990's, the reported statistic for autism then was 1 in 10,000.

As a clinician and also the parent of an adult child on the autism spectrum, I know how much our kids with autism require specialized care and support to help them reach their full potential. When you're the parent or caregiver of a child with autism, navigating the myriad of resources available can be so overwhelming! With the right guidance and information, you can find trustworthy resources that will best support your child's needs so they can thrive. We've included some of our go-to favorite resource sites for you in this article.

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Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The prevalence of ASD in the US

Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the United States, and according to the CDC, cases have increased by 10% to 17% every year since the early 2000s. Boys continue to be four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

Early signs and symptoms of ASD

The early signs and symptoms of autism vary from child to child. However, some of the most common signs of ASD include delayed speech and language skills, difficulty with social interactions, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests. Children with autism may also have difficulty with sensory processing, which can cause them to be sensitive to light, sound, touch, taste, or smell.

Diagnostic process for ASD

Diagnosing autism can be a lengthy and complex process. Doctors and specialists may use a combination of tools and assessments to evaluate a child's behavior, language, and social interactions. The diagnostic process may also involve genetic testing, medical exams, and developmental screenings.

Early identification and intervention are critical for children with autism, as early therapy can improve outcomes and quality of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that all children between ages 18 and 24 months be screened for ASD at their regular well-child visits. Talk with your child's pediatrician if you are concerned about your child's development.

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Types of resources available for children with ASD

Education resources for children with ASD

Children with autism require specialized education to help them reach their full potential. There are a variety of education resources available for children with autism, including public schools, private schools, and homeschooling options.

While programs differ from state to state and district to district, public schools are required to offer special education programs that are tailored to the needs of children with disabilities. Private schools may offer smaller class sizes and more individualized attention, while homeschooling allows parents to create a customized curriculum for their child.

Therapeutic resources for children with ASD

Children with autism may require a variety of therapeutic resources to help them develop essential skills and behaviors.

Some of the most common therapeutic resources for children with autism include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. ABA is a widely used therapy that focuses on teaching children positive behaviors and reducing negative behaviors.

Speech therapy can help children with autism develop language and communication skills, while occupational therapy can help them with sensory processing and motor skills.

Support resources for families of children with ASD

Families of children with autism require support and resources to help them navigate the challenges that come with raising a child with autism. There are a variety of support resources available for families of children with autism, including support groups, counseling services, and respite care.

Support groups can provide a safe and supportive environment for families to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Counseling services can help families cope with the emotional and psychological challenges of raising a child with autism, while respite care can provide much-needed breaks for caregivers.

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Choosing the best resources for your child

Choosing the best resources for your child with autism can be a daunting task. However, there are some key factors to consider when selecting resources for your child.

  • First, consider your child's individual needs and strengths. Choose resources that are tailored to your child's specific needs, interests, and abilities.

  • Second, consider the qualifications and experience of the professionals who will be working with your child. Choose professionals who have experience working with children with autism and who are trained in evidence-based therapies.

  • Finally, consider the cost and availability of resources. Some resources may be covered by insurance or other programs, while others may require out-of-pocket expenses.

Helpful Links for Autism Support

Early identification and intervention are critical for children with autism. You are not alone. It's important to connect with qualified professionals to help your child reach their full potential, and to surround yourself with the support that you need and deserve on your parenting journey.

Here is just a handful of credible, go-to autism resource sites to help your family:

Autism Society of America - Comprehensive autism information and resources

Autism Speaks - Comprehensive autism information and resources - Practical information on living day-to-day with autism

UC Davis MIND Institute - Autism research and resources

Nourishing Hope - Nutrition information and treatment for autism and ADHD

Autism Research Institute - Biomedical research and treatment for autism

For great book resources to help your child with autism, check out our post

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All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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