As a mother of a wonderful little guy with moderate to severe autism, I’ve been disappointed in the dearth of sites focusing on the unique needs of this subgroup of the autism community. I hope this site will be informative and encouraging to families with kids like mine.
For those that are new to the world of autism, here are some of the basics:
Autism is a spectrum disorder encompassing a wide range of deficits in three main areas:
- Impaired social interactions,
- Speech and language difficulties,
- Repetitive and stereotypical behaviors.
Of these, impaired social interaction is the hallmark feature and is present in almost all forms of autism.
How can one tell if a child has mild, moderate or severe autism? A simple way to find out is The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS). The CARS rates functioning in 15 categories and can be . Higher scores reflect higher severity of autism. Those on the moderate to severe end of the spectrum generally have no/little speech and there is often an overlay of some cognitive impairment. The CDC estimates “about 40 percent or more specifically 41 percent of children with autism having an intellectual disability”. However, as one parent quoted “the good news is that the only direction that people move on the spectrum is up”. Very true. Early and intensive interventions do work so never give up hope!
Here’s some autism facts from the Autism Speaks website that I found interesting:
- Prevalence of autism: 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys)
- More children will be diagnosed this year with autism than with cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined
- Autism costs the nation $137 billion annually.
- NIH autism research = $169 million (or 0.6% of total NIH funding of $30.5 billion)
Hmmm…I’m probably biased but only 0.6% of NIH funding for Autism? Seems rather low given the high prevalence of Autism as compared to other childhood medical conditions.
Hope this is helpful. Check out my blog posts by category to get more of an idea of some of the characteristics of moderate to severe autism. Or submit a post if you wish to add to this info…