Autism Fact Sheet

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People with autism have the same health problems as the general population. However, they may, in addition, have specific health-care needs related to autism or other co-occurring conditions.

How Often ASD Occurs

Many of the genes that are involved in autism are related to brain development. This may be why autism symptoms tend to involve issues with communication, cognitive functioning, or socialization. Some people have a more challenging time with social, learning, or communication abilities. They may need help with everyday tasks and in some cases aren’t able to live alone. Some studies, and anecdotal evidence, have suggested that diet can help improve symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , a condition that may be similar to autism.

Collaboration between the health sector and other sectors, particularly education, employment and social care, is important. While autism isn’t an illness, many people with autism might also have other conditions, including ADHD, dyslexia, and others. If you have questions about you or your child’s health, see your doctor and explain your concerns. Even though some people have concerns that they do, studies have shown that there is no link between the two. Experts have reviewed the safety of eight vaccines for children and adults. Other studies have looked at the ingredients of different vaccines and found no link to autism. The health benefits of vaccines in preventing diseases far outweigh any potential risks.

If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.

They are characterized by some degree of difficulty with social interaction and communication. Other characteristics are atypical patterns of activities and behaviours, such as difficulty with transition from one activity to another, a focus on details and unusual reactions to sensations. People with ASD have behaviors or interests that can seem unusual. These behaviors or interests set ASD apart from conditions defined by problems with social communication and interaction only. Applied behavior analysis is a type of treatment that aims to promote positive behavior and discourage negative or harmful behavior.

They also grapple with the relationship of intellectual disability and other symptoms in patients with secondary ASD. The definition of autism has changed over the decades and could change in future years as we understand more. Some people feel the spectrum is too broad, arguing an autistic person with 24/7 support needs cannot be compared with a person who finds supermarket lights too bright. We will continue to fight to make society work for autistic people. People with autism require accessible health services for general health-care needs like the rest of the population, including promotive and preventive services and treatment of acute and chronic illness. Nevertheless, autistic people have higher rates of unmet health-care needs compared with the general population. They are also more vulnerable during humanitarian emergencies.

Autistic people can become experts in their special interests and often like to share their knowledge. Greta Thunberg’s intense interest, for example, is protecting the environment. Autism is a spectrum condition and affects people in different ways. Like all people, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Autism Speaks strongly supports new rule to reduce barriers to health care services for many autistic people

Read more about Autistic here.

Nevertheless, some autism advocates are exploring dietary changes as a way to help minimize behavioral issues and increase overall quality of life. Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. We have new and better treatment options today because of what clinical trials uncovered years ago. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. Diagnosing ASD in adults is often more difficult than diagnosing ASD in children.

It could be having to adjust to big events like Christmas or changing schools, facing uncertainty at work, or something simpler like a bus detour that can trigger their anxiety. Autistic people may also repeat movements such as hand flapping, rocking or the repetitive use of an object such as twirling a pen or opening and closing a door. Autistic people often engage in these behaviours to help calm themselves when they are stressed or anxious, but many autistic people do it because they find it enjoyable. In the United Kingdom a school-based population study published in 2009 estimated prevalence at about 1 in every 100 children. In both countries, males are affected four to five times more often than females. Autism itself does not affect life expectancy, however research has shown that the mortality risk among individuals with autism is twice as high as the general population, in large part due to drowning and other accidents.

It is not the same as the number of autistic people who have a diagnosis and many autistic people might not have been identified or even know yet themselves. As autism understanding has grown, the estimated prevalence has also changed. It is very important that autistic people learn to recognise their triggers and find coping mechanisms to help reduce their anxiety.