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Information about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Introduction

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others.  Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.  There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities.  Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides.  The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.

In March 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence reportThe report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys.  The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.

In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million.  The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism.  (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.)

Know the signs:  Early identification can change lives

Autism is treatable.  Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.  For more information on developmental milestones, visit the CDC's "Know the Signs. Act Early" site.

Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

Related Sites

Vitamin D Council
Description:  The Vitamin D Council provides the latest Vitamin D news and research. Dr. John Cannell of the Council outlines what the risk factors are for autism and how to prevent them.

The Autism Society of America
Description:  The Autism Society, the nation's leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. They do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.

The National Autism Association
Description:  The mission of the National Autism Association is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.

Generation Rescue
Description:  Generation Rescue is dedicated to recovery for children with autism spectrum disorders by providing guidance and support for medical treatment to directly improve the child's quality of life for all families in need.

Lily Grace Foundation
Description:  Providing children and families diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders with education, resources, research, and scholarships for medical and integrative therapies.

The Autism Research Institute
Description:  The Autism Research Institute's mission is to meet the needs of the global autism community through research, networking, education, and support for families and people of all ages on the autism spectrum.

Parents’ Stories – From Autism Diagnosis to Treatments, Hope and Recovery
Description:  Treating Autism aims to provide support and information to persons affected by ASD, their family members and professionals.

Talk About Curing Autism
Description:  Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACA helps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help improve the quality of life for people with autism.

US Autism & Asperger Association
Description:  US Autism & Asperger Association is a non-profit organization which has a large network of world-renowned professionals with expertise in Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and other related disorders. USAAA hosts a world conference in the United States each year, establishes standards for Autism and Asperger Syndrome training, and aligns with local community resources to offer support for the entire Autism and Asperger communities.

Autism Speaks
Description:  At Autism Speaks, their goal is to change the future for all who struggle with an autism spectrum disorder. They are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism.

Books

The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul's Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health-from Pregnancy Through Your Child's Teen Years Paperback by Paul Thomas M.D. and Jennifer Margulis
Description:  Paul Thomas, M.D., discusses his method to building immunity and a new protocol that limits a child’s exposure to neurotoxins while at the same time building good health. The Vaccine-Friendly Plan provides a new standard for pediatric care and it helps give caregivers peace of mind while raising healthy children.

The ADHD and Autism Nutritional Supplement Handbook: The Cutting-Edge Biomedical Approach to Treating the Underlying Deficiencies and Symptoms of ADHD and Autism by Pamela Compart, M.D., and Dana Laake, M.S., L.D.N.
Description:  More than 90 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD or autism have nutritional and/or metabolic inefficiencies. In this groundbreaking new book, doctor-nutritionist team Pamela Compart, M.D., and Dana Laake, M.S., L.D.N., explain simply, how to prioritize and safely implement the most beneficial supplements and dietary changes. In addition to in depth details about nutrients, the authors expand their discussion to the systems and mechanisms involved in ADHD and autism. Through their proven, symptom-by-symptom treatment method, they describe the regimens which work best in helping each child's brain and body thrive, resulting in improved behavior, attention, mood, language, cognition, and social interaction.

Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy by David Kirby
Description:  Evidence of Harm gives a history of the usage of thimerosal in vaccines as a preservative. It also describes how the gradual increase of the number of vaccines since the early 1990s has increased the amount of ethylmercury in children and its damaging effects on them physically and neurologically.

Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents by Alan Yau
Description:  Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents is a valuable tool and practical guide giving parents ideas and strategies to assist their child with behavioral, cognitive, focus, play, visual and communication difficulties.

The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be by Martha Herbert, MD
Description:  The Autism Revolution: whole-Body Strategies is a phenomenal piece of work for parents of children with autism by highly acclaimed researcher Dr. Martha Herbert from Harvard Medical School. She outlines her strategies to restore health and wellness by her specific recommendations.

Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism, Fourth Edition by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons
Description:  Dan Rossignol, MD, wrote the chapter "Cerebral Folate Deficiency in Autism Spectrum Disorders in the fourth edition of "Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism".

An Unfortunate Coincidence: A Mother's Life inside the Autism Controversy Hardcover by Julie Obradovic
Description:  A story about a Mother’s struggle with her daughter’s autism and her quest to find answers. In this book, you will read the account of Julie Obradovic’s fight to find treatment for her daughter and her effort to help others.

All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism
Description:  This book is about the author, Kim Stagliano’s, memoir of her family’s voyage raising three daughters with autism.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
Description:  This book provides an in depth discussion about communication issues, social processing skills, and the critical role adults play in teaching the child with autism so that they may have a meaningful life.

Children with Starving Brains: A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder by Jaquelyn McCandless (Author), Jack Zimmerman (Contributor)
Description:  Children with Starving Brains is a treatment guide for both parents and physicians outlining many of the environmental triggers in conjunction with the genetic susceptibility which have resulted in impaired immune systems, poor GI functioning, and starving brains.

Frontiers in Autism Research: New Horizons for Diagnosis and Treatment by Valerie W. Hu
Description:  Dan Rossignol, MD, wrote the chapter "Achieving Optimum Outcomes in Autism: Treating Potentially Reversible Conditions Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder" in the book "Frontiers in Autism Research: New Horizons for Diagnosis and Treatment".

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents) by Elizabeth Verdick
Description:  This book is a great comprehensive resource for parents and includes real-life stories.

Tools

The Autism File Magazine
Description:  The Autism File Magazine has very informative articles for autism parents and families. They provide support, advice and guidance on a variety of topics useful and beneficial for all families.

The Autism Doctor
Description:  Dr. Brian Udell, MD, focuses his training and practice on problems with childhood development. One of the more common out-of-range laboratory findings in the children who come to his clinic is a low vitamin D level.

The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC)
Description:  The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) was developed by Bernard Rimland and Stephen M. Edelson of the Autism Research Institute. The ATEC is a one-page form designed to be completed by parents, teachers, or caretakers. It consists of 4 subtests: I. Speech/Language Communication (14 items); II. Sociability (20 items); III. Sensory/ Cognitive Awareness (18 items); and IV. Health/Physical/Behavior (25 items).

The Autism Channel
Description:  The Autism Channel provides ‘The World of Autism in one Place’. Find programming in many diverse subjects – interviews and discussions, movies, entertainment, children, science and research, world news and much more.

Autism Products – Autism Tools
Description:  This site provides various tools to help with behavioral support, sensory, and self-regulation.

The Autism Eye Magazine
Description:  The Autism Eye Magazine is an in depth source of autism information and advice. Learn about alternatives to drugs, family experiences, jobs and employment, new approaches to treating problems, Lyme disease, Self help skills and much more.

The Autism Notebook
Description:  The Autism Notebook is a family resource for autism and related disabilities. The magazine offers a wide variety of topics often relating to education, acceptance and inspiration.

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders by Tara Delaney
Description:  This book provides a great variety of activities targeting children’s motor skills, language skills and social skills by moving their bodies and interacting with their environment. Games can be played indoors or outdoors and are for school aged children.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  Autism Spectrum Disorder, through my eyes Discussion Group
Description:  Facebook group. The main aim of the group is for members to post questions or concerns relating to Autism, to reach out for help, or to offer support to others.

Forum/Blog Name:  Maria Rickert Hong Blog
Description:  Maria practices a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that she looks at how all areas of your life are connected.

Forum/Blog Name:  Thinking Mom’s Revolution
Description:  A website and blog dedicated to bringing out stories of our children; stories of healing, truth, justice, and HOPE.

Forum/Blog Name:  Operation Autism On-Line Blog
Description:  Operation Autism is a resource guide for military families and their unique situation. This is an open blog for parents, professionals, educators, advocates and so on. The focus is to provide information and support to families with autism in the military.

Forum/Blog Name:  Center for Autism And Related Disorders (CARD)
Description:  CARD's mission is to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) around the globe reach their maximum potential. Using evidenced-based principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), CARD creates individualized treatment plans with goals tailored to each individual’s specific needs.

Forum/Blog Name:  Autism Parents Support and Discussion Group
Description:  This Facebook group is a place for you to ask Autism-related questions, have discussions, get answers and feedback, share stories of challenges and achievements and also create and foster new friendships with others who have been walking a similar path on this Autism journey.

Forum/Blog Name:  Recovering Kids.com
Description:  At our group, you'll find parents ready to offer their experiences when faced with similar situations. Sharing and healing together. Whether your child has autism, allergies, ADHD, apraxia, sensory processing disorder, pandas or mitochondrial disease, there is biomedical information in the group for you.

Forum/Blog Name:  THRiive
Description:  A website with a goal of taking YOU from Dealing with a Diagnosis to Delivery of the Optimal Protocol for you and yours to THRiiiVE!!!

Forum/Blog Name:  Fearless Parents
Description:  Fearless Parent™ is the thinking person’s daily dose of unconventional, evidence-based news about health, wellness, green living, and holistic parenting choices.

Forum/Blog Name:  CSB-Autism-Rx
Description:  This Yahoo Group provides a dynamic forum to discuss causation models for the worldwide epidemic of autism, ADD and ADHD. Discussions focus on the treatment protocols described in Jaquelyn McCandless’ book, “Children with Starving Brains: A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder," 4th Edition 2009.

Forum/Blog Name:  Autism Behavior Problems
Description:  This is a Yahoo Group where people can go to specifically talk about problem behaviors they're having with autistic children. This group is for discussion, aid and support in dealing with these behaviors present in the autistic child.

Forum/Blog Name:  Denise’s List
Description:  This is a Yahoo Group for Autism information of particular interest to the South Florida area. Members exchange information on news, therapies, resources, events, advocacy, on just about anything concerning autism.

Forum/Blog Name:  Special Mom Special Kids
Description:  This is a Yahoo Group of Moms in Palm Beach county Florida that have a child with special needs. We have formed a group to support and network with one another.

Forum/Blog Name:  What is a MAPS Doctor and Why Should I have One?
Description:  This is an interview with Dr. David Berger, a MAPS physician – Medical Academia of Pediatric Special Needs – on the importance of a MAPS physician and why parents need to find one for their child.

Forum/Blog Name:  Valerie’s List
Description:  FREE! News and Resources for the Autism Community in Southern California.