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Autism Is More Common Than Childhood Cancer, Diabetes, And AIDS Combined


World Autism Awareness Day was established on December 18, 2007 by the United Nations.

  • Autism affects approximately 1 out of every 150 children around the world.
  • It is a neural development disorder that affects their ability to socialize normally by impacting their abilities to utilize verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Since 2012, there has been a 30% increase in the amount of children being affected with autism, and World Autism Awareness Day helps to bring awareness to this growing health concern.
  • Autism first appears very early on, sometimes manifesting as early as infancy, in other times waiting until later in childhood. The disease progresses steadily without remission, its first symptoms generally appearing around six-months, and being firmly in place by age two or three.
  • Rather than having one distinguishing characteristic, Autism is indicated by the coming together of three separate symptoms. The triad includes difficulty socializing, problems in communication, and a limited number of interests combined with repetitive behavior such as can-stacking.
  • Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939), a Swiss psychiatrist, first termed “autism” but applied it to adult schizophrenia. In 1943, the term was redefined by Leo Kanner (1894-1981) who dissociated autism from schizophrenia to create the modern understanding of the disorder.
  • Environmental factors that could trigger predisposed genes to mutate and cause autism are vast and could include certain drugs, chemicals, heavy metal exposure, antibiotics, extensive television viewing, flame retardant, or infections during pregnancy
  • Autism is more common than childhood cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined
  • Researchers recommend autistic testing if a baby doesn’t babble or coo by 12 months, doesn’t point or wave by 12 months, doesn’t say single words by 16 months, doesn’t say two-word phrases by 24 months, or loses previously acquired language or social skills at any age
  • Divorce rates are high in families with an autistic child. Researchers suggest reducing stress by ensuring an autistic child receives appropriate healthcare, setting aside time for a spouse, and creating a support system with other families of children with autism.
  • In 2017, Sesame Street debuted a character with autism named Julia. The puppet is the first muppet to be on the autism spectrum
  • In 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 1 in 37 boys versus 1 in 151 girls.
  • 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).
  • An estimated one-third of people with autism are nonverbal.
  • Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied.
  • The majority of autism’s costs in the U.S. are for adult services – an estimated $175 to $196 billion a year, compared to $61 to $66 billion a year for children.
  • Autism greatly varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike)
  • The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last twenty years
  • Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet most underfunded


Days of the Year

Fact Retriever

Autism Speaks

National Autism Association