You can use this article as an autism fact sheet since we are bringing you 10 autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more. Autism prevalence is increasing day by day, and it is estimated that this year more children will be diagnosed with autism than with AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined. It is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the world, that affects 1 in 68 children. While there are some suggestions regarding what contributes to the development of autism, specific factors are still unknown. The best approach, when it comes to autism treatment is the combination of education programs, behavior therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, etc. Each autistic child is unique, and symptoms vary from child to child. Many of them are avoiding social interaction, eye contact, and communication in general. Also, a lot of autistic children have a very short attention span for certain things while they can endlessly repeat some other actions. Restricted and repetitive behavior has been recognized as the core symptom of autism, often displayed from early childhood.
It is interesting that autism statistics vary by state and according to our list of states with the lowest rates of autism in the US, Iowa is the state with lowest autism rates (0.10%) with one child out of 767 diagnosed with autism. You can also check out our article about states with the highest rates of autism in America. It seems that autism can affect anyone and anywhere, regardless of race, gender, age or economic status which is confirmed by autism statistics worldwide. Surprisingly, countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden and the USA are among the countries with the highest rates of autism – just take a look at our article about countries with the highest rate of autism in the world and see it for yourself. Still, the list of developed countries with lowest autism rates shows that some developed countries like Italy, Ireland, and Germany have very low autism rates. Once again this proves that, despite constant research, a lot about autism is still unknown.
One of the widespread beliefs about causes of autism is that vaccination can cause it. This discussion has divided the population around the globe among those who are pro-vaccine and those who are anti-vaccine. Both sides will claim that there is scientific evidence to support their belief and whatever the truth is, statistics show that autism rates are on the rise. Mawson Homeschooled study, focusing on homeschooled vaccinated, and unvaccinated children in America showed that vaccinated children are more likely to develop allergic rhinitis, ADHD, and autism, among other things. Nevertheless, some scientists completely disregarded these findings. Personally, I believe that this topic will remain controversial for quite some time and that both sides have good and faulty arguments to support their claims.
To compile this list of 10 autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more, I turned to the Internet to search for some information about autism, vaccination, the Amish community and of course the “missing link” that in a way connects all of that. The starting points were websites such as Autism Speaks, Child Mind, and Spectrum Clarity that provided me with much needed basic knowledge regarding autism. Considering that we are dealing with a very complex disorder, I picked only a few most interesting facts for our list, which are often a topic of fiery debates. They are not ranked in any particular order since there is no criterion according to which I could rank them. However, I have to admit that the number one on this list is my favorite. Let’s take a look at our list of autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more.
10. Cost of autism
Early intervention, proper treatment, and education have proven to be very successful in treating symptoms of autism. However, that is a very costly process. The researchers from Harvard estimated that costs of autism-related health care and education in the US are around $17,000 per child for one year. The economic burden of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is massive, and on a national level, these additional costs exceeded $11.5 billion in 2011. In 2015, estimated costs were $268 billion. It is expected that the costs could go up to $1 trillion in 2025 if the prevalence of autism continues to grow.
9. The Amish Anomaly
We are continuing our list of autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more with a historical one. Three hundred years ago, a small Amish community migrated from Europe and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Today, they are well-known for their religiously-focused culture, plain dress and life without access to (most) modern inventions. Although immunization is not forbidden, vaccination rates are generally low in Amish communities. This is the reason why Amish children are often hospitalized for vaccine-preventable diseases. However, it is interesting that Dr. Frank Noonan who has been treating Amish children for over 25 years once said, “You’ll find all the other stuff, but we don’t find the autism. We’re right in the heart of Amish country and seeing none, and that’s just the way it is”. This suggests that autism in Amish community is minimal or non-existent. This was confirmed by Dan Olmstead who studied autism prevalence among Amish and discovered that it is almost non-existent. He called this phenomenon “The Amish Anomaly.”
8. Autistic people often have sensory difficulties
Due to the specific nature of autism spectrum disorder, children with this condition do not experience the world in the same way we do. Many of them are facing different kinds of difficulties while trying to process sensory information. For example, some can’t perceive individual sounds, and some are even dealing with hearing loss in one ear. That’s called hyposensitivity. On the other hand, there is hypersensitivity that is reflected in their senses being too acute and sharp. In that case, such individual can overhear conversations from a long distance, or in the worst case scenario to be unable to isolate background noise thus hearing every sound on a magnified scale. If you know someone like this, noise-canceling headphones can be a perfect gift. To choose the best ones, take a look at our article on the best noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs for kids with autism. Now, let’s see what’s next on our list of autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more.
7. Puzzle piece: symbol for autism awareness
Number seven on our list of autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more, is the story about the origins of a puzzle piece as a symbol of autism. It goes way back to 1963 when people believed that autistic people have a “puzzling” condition. Truth be told, this is pretty convenient even today after dozens of studies on autism were conducted. Some parents agree that the term “puzzle piece” perfectly describes all the complicated ways autism impacts their children. Autism is indeed a puzzle that many are trying to solve, unsuccessfully so far. However, autistic people have been criticizing the puzzle piece as a symbol of autism awareness because it can also symbolize that something is missing, that they have a problem that needs to be solved. Some of them stated that they are not problems and that they are not incomplete persons, often claiming: “We’re people, not puzzles.” Whether this symbol will remain or not is yet to be seen.
6. Prevalence of autism is higher among boys than girls
Next on our list of autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more is that boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. According to researchers one of the possible reasons for this claiming is the mutation on the PTCHD1 gene. If a boy’s X chromosome is missing this gene or some of the other nearby DNA sequences, he is at high risk of developing ASD. Girls are protected by nature since they carry a second X chromosome which in a way shields them from ASD.
5. Autistic children don’t like hairdressers
Another very interesting information on our list of autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more, is that a lot of autistic children do not like going to the hairdresser. You might say, many children don’t like that, but this is something completely different. Reason for this can be that persons with autism are often very sensitive (see number 10 on our list). The process of hair-cutting includes a lot of close contact with the hairdresser which can be particularly upsetting for children with autism. Parents of autistic children developed various techniques to minimize the stress of going to hairdresser such as using timers to let them know how long the process will take or explaining the procedure in detail over and over again. One particular hairdresser, James Williams, recently made headlines for his unique approach to working with autistic children. Instead of the traditional way of cutting hair, “Jim the Trim” hairdresser adjusts the working environment to each kid. If the kid wants to lay on the ground, Williams finds a way to cut the hair that way without upsetting the child. What to say but congratulations!
4. Autism in countries that don’t vaccinate
We are continuing our list of 10 autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more with a fact that even though immunization has helped the human race to battle against diseases which killed thousands of people in the past more and more people nowadays decide not to vaccinate their children due to the “theory” that vaccination (especially MMR) and development of autism are closely connected. Nigeria is among the countries with lowest rates of immunization; however, statistics show that 135 million are diagnosed with autism. It is very hard to determine what influences development of autism since it appears in both developing countries with high rates of immunization and in, for example, countries such as Nigeria, with low immunization rates.
3. Autism is the fastest growing disorder in the USA
According to CNN’s article published in 2014, one in 68 children in the USA is diagnosed with autism. This is a 30% rise from 2012. Autism prevalence is increasing day by day, and it is estimated that this year more children will be diagnosed with autism than with AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined. It’s no wonder this one on our list of autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more ended up this high, because without a solution to reduce prevalence rate of autism, numbers will continue to grow, and even now, autism is declared as the fastest growing developmental disorder in America.
2. There is no “cure” for autism
Since autism is a complex disorder, the word “cure” is pretty much inadequate but still many uses it. Therapy that eliminates symptoms of autism has not been discovered yet, but early intervention and proper education can minimize the symptoms. If you are living in the New York City, make sure to check out our list of best NYC schools for children with autism and for those in New Jersey we’ve prepared a list of best school districts for autism in New Jersey.
1. Autistic savant
You probably remember seeing autistic geniuses as characters in your favorite movies or TV shows. One of the recent ones was “The Accountant” starring Ben Affleck. This movie definitely raised some dust when it comes to the portrayal of the main character, and you probably wondered about highly talented autistic persons in real life. Yes, they exist, and they are called autistic savants. The autistic savant is one of the fascinating phenomena in psychology. The estimated prevalence of savant abilities in autism is 10% which is pretty high when compared to only 1% of the non-autistic population with such abilities. Exceptional skills of these individuals can vary from being exceptionally good with numbers, remembering details with high accuracy to incredible artistic skills. You can take a look at the short documentary about The Rainman Twins, who are autistic savants with impeccable memory as well as world’s only female autistic savant twins. I believe that this is the perfect way to conclude our list of 10 autism facts and statistics: autism rates in Amish, countries that don’t vaccinate and more.