young boy with autism sitting in a class

12 Autism Facts You Need to Know

Autism is one of the most prevalent developmental delays, and yet, many people don’t know a lot of Autism facts.

There are a wide range of symptoms associated with Autism. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Rigid thinking
  • Inability to form friendships
  • Deficits in communication
  • Social anxiety
  • Obsession or fixation on one particular subject
  • Sensory issues

Parents with children on the spectrum are familiar with the everyday realities of the condition. But here are some facts people may not know about Autism.

12 Autism Facts You Need to Know

1. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

Girls are underdiagnosed with Autism. This may be due to cultural biases.

Autism presents differently in girls. Unlike boys on the spectrum, girls tend to have less disconcerting fixations.

For example, a girl may obsess over ponies while a boy will obsess over something like the intricacies of the New York City skyline.

Also, girls are able to conceal their condition better than boys because of the pervasive belief that girls are supposed to be shy.

2. Autism affects approximately 1% of the world's population.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 59 children in the United States have Autism.

The figures in these Autism facts are ever-changing though.

It is one of the fastest growing developmental delays in the world.

In fact, it is more common than AIDS, childhood cancer, and diabetes combined! Autism can affect anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, cultural background, or socioeconomic status.

Minority groups, however, are diagnosed less often and later in life.

3. The term was first used in 1911.

The term is derived from the Greek “autos”, which literally means alone.

Considering the fact that Autism is a communication disorder that hinders an individual’s ability to socialize effectively, this condition is aptly named.

4. People with Autism have a shorter life expectancy.

Although the life expectancy for North America is 80 years old, the life expectancy of people with Autism is only 54.

That is a 16 year age difference!

Drowning is the most common cause of death in children with Autism. However, the leading causes of death for adults with Autism are suicide, heart disease, and seizures from epilepsy.

People with “milder” forms of the Autism are more prone to suicidal ideation.

5. It is expensive to care for a child with Autism.

Aside from the typical costs of raising a child, support and interventions for children with Autism cost $40,000 to $60,000 per year per child.

In a study conducted by Autism Speaks, the lifetime costs are estimated to be $1.4 million to $2.4 million!

Although it is more expensive to raise a child on the spectrum than a neurotypical child, parents of children with Autism usually earn less during their lifetime.

Mothers of children with Autism are especially less likely to work full time.

As a result, they earn 35% less than mothers of children with other disabilities and 56% less than mothers whose children have no disabilities at all.

6. People with Autism are creative and innovative.

Pokémon is one of the most successful video game series to date.

It was created by Japanese video game designer, Satoshi Tajiri. And he is on the spectrum.

There are loads of well known business people, musicians, and inventors that have been diagnosed or are thought to be on the spectrum.

Actors Dan Aykroyd and Daryl Hannah are very open about their experiences with Autism.

Billionaire Bill Gates and Academy Award nominated director Tim Burton are both rumored to have Autism.

Individuals on the spectrum are attentive to detail and tend to think outside the box, so the link between Autism and creativity doesn’t come as a surprise.

7. Life after 18 is difficult for people with Autism.

There are a lot of shocking statistics regarding Autism in adulthood.

For example, 35% of young adults with Autism have never had a job or pursued postsecondary education.

In addition, almost half of 25 years old people with Autism have never been employed.

8: Autism tends to occur with other medical conditions.

Autism and co-occurring illness statistics:

  • ADHD affects an estimated 30-61% of children with Autism.
  • More than half of children with Autism have chronic sleep issues.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 11-40% of children and teens on the spectrum.
  • Depression affects 7% of children and 26% of adults.
  • Children with Autism are nearly eight times more likely to suffer from chronic gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Even though schizophrenia affects approximately 1% of the general population, studies suggest that schizophrenia affects 4-35% of adults with Autism.

9. Intellectual ability varies.

It is estimated that 44% of children diagnosed with Autism have average to above average intellectual ability. That correlates to an I.Q. score of <90.

Conversely, one third of all individuals with Autism have an Intellectual Disability, and approximately 50% are verbal.

10. Their brains work differently.

It is amazing how someone with Autism can remember every movie that ever won an Oscar for Best Picture, but forgets to bring their backpack to school.

This happens because people with Autism process information differently. Their brains structure information differently, which means that people with Autism:

  • are able to highly focus on a topic, and are possibly able to learn everything about that topic with photographic like precision
  • struggle to determine what information is important or useful

For example, someone on the spectrum may think learning about the French Revolution is not essential and would rather study the French language itself, even though that student has an upcoming test on the French Revolution.

So, he might “zone out” completely during the history lesson; yet he has just memorized 300 new French words.

11. There are certain risk factors that increase the prevalence of Autism.

Even though researchers have not identified the direct cause of Autism, they have determined several risk factors.

  • Genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop Autism.
  • Children who have a sibling with Autism pose a higher risk of developing Autism.
  • It tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal disorders.
  • Children born to older parents are at a greater risk.
  •  Valproic acid and Thalidomide are prescription drugs that increase its prevalence.

12. There is no cure.

There is no cure and no one really knows what exactly causes Autism.

Currently, there are no medical tests that can detect its presence.

However, comprehensive testing like hearing, visual, and neurological tests can determine the presence of Autism.

Related: These are the benefits of online tutoring for children of all learning abilities.

What do these Autism facts mean for children with the condition?

These facts and figures demonstrate the undeniable truth: children with Autism will face certain challenges, but also have abilities that neurotypical parents never will.

That being said, many students with Autism have a hard time excelling in the traditional classroom learning environment.

If your child is struggling in school, talk to someone at FLOAT Prep about one-on-one and small group tutoring sessions.

Our tutors have experience teaching students of varying learning need. Our personalized education plans might be just the solution to your child’s academic struggles.

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