Updated: September 29, 2020 | Original Post: October 4, 2019
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex topic. I could write and talk about ASD for hours because of its complexity. In fact, one of the main focuses of my practice is working with high functioning autistic children and teens to help them find ways to use their strengths and mitigate their challenges.
I also work with parents to help create tailored strategies to help make things at home and school easier. Whether it is with me or somebody else, take advantage of the supports that you can find.
My perspective on ASD is simple: while an autistic person can have difficulties, they are not broken. They are NOT damaged. In fact, they might even have ways of seeing things that are unique in amazing ways.
To begin with, I’m going to try and share some powerful statistics that I found on the Autism Speaks website.
- In 2020, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2016 data.
- 1 in 34 boys identified with autism
- 1 in 144 girls identified with autism
- Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
- Most children were still being diagnosed after age 4, though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2.
- 31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (intelligence quotient [IQ] <70), 25% are in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range (i.e., IQ >85).
- Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
- Minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
- Early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan.
- There is no medical detection for autism.
I encourage you to read the rest of that webpage as it contains a lot of great information.
Autism Can Help With Success
Being autistic can mean having a unique perspective on the world and approaching problems differently than so-called normal people. In fact, many of the most successful people in history are believed to have been autistic.
Let me do some name dropping:
- Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft
- Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple
- Susan Boyle is a British singer
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most famous of composers.
- Jerry Seinfeld is a comedian
- Nikola Tesla was an inventor
- Satoshi Tajiri created Pokemon
- Dr. Temple Grandin is a famous animal science doctor who went public about her diagnosis.
I would argue that if these amazing individuals’ success was because they were autistic. Autism allowed them to soar and do things that others couldn’t. Google “famous autistic people” and you will find many more examples.
Autism Diagnoses Today
Autism spectrum disorder includes three conditions that in the past were diagnosed separately. There is Autism, Asperger’s, and PDDNOS. PDDNOS stands for “pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified and was the diagnosis used when a person did not fit into another category.
Sheldon Cooper on the comedy “The Big Bang Theory” would be an example of an adult with Asperger’s. Rain Man, from the 1980’s movie, is an example of somebody who in the past would be diagnosed with Autism.
Finding out that your child is autistic can be scary and overwhelming. While it can be a challenge, it is also best to know about it early on.
Knowing your child is autistic will help target the supports that you will need. It can also help you with funding. It is critical that the diagnosis is conducted by somebody who is properly trained. There are very specific assessments that need to be done.
Make sure as well that you get a sense of where on the Autism Spectrum your child scores. Because ASD now encompasses what used to be three very different diagnoses, knowing where your child is on the spectrum is critical.