Saturday, April 21, 2012
Every 11 minutes, another family receives the devastating news that their child has an autism spectrum disorder. Help us change that! Start fundraising today. Whether you strive to join our new “Grand Club” (walkers that raise $1,000 or more) or sell lemonade to boost your total or create your own unique event, you become a part of the solution! Don’t wait another minute – start a corporate, school or family team today!
What Is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
Studies also show that autism is three to four times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
What Causes Autism?
The clearest evidence of these autism risk factors involves events before and during birth. They include advanced parental age at time of conception (both mom and dad), maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, particularly those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. It is important to keep in mind that these factors, by themselves, do not cause autism. Rather, in combination with genetic risk factors, they appear to modestly increase risk.
A small but growing body of research suggests that autism risk is less among children whose mothers took prenatal vitamins (containing folic acid) in the months before and after conception.