Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Dr.Deborah Bilder: World Autism Awareness Day
(KUTV) Autism effects thousands of families in Utah and April 2nd is world autism awareness day.
Dr. Deborah Bilder joined us to talk about the signs, symptoms and where you families can turn for help.
The Legacy Bridge on the campus of The University of Utah will be lit blue in honor of World Autism Awareness Day.
-Autism is a spectrum of complex developmental brain disorders in which there are different levels of severity and combinations of symptoms. Individuals with autism have ongoing challenges that most of us don't face. These challenges are presented at home, school, work and most social situations.
-Nationally it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism. In Utah the rate of autism has increased dramatically in the past 15 years.
-No one really knows the exact cause of autism but what is known is that early diagnosis and intervention can substantially improve the lives of those affected and their families.
Symptoms and Diagnosis:
-Autism affects the way a child perceives the world and makes communication and social interaction difficult. A child may have repetitive behaviors or intense interests and focus. The symptoms and severity may be very different between those affected with autism.
-A diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder can be made very early in a child's life. Unfortunately that does not always happen for a variety of reasons; lack of primary care physician training; financial issues (full autism assessments can be very expensive and is not covered by most insurance companies), denial by the family etc.
-The University of Utah Autism Diagnostic Clinic works with families to provide a confirmed diagnosis with comprehensive testing and psychiatric evaluations.
Reports that the U.S. autism rate has jumped sharply have brought great concern in recent years, but part of the surprising increase can be traced to broader diagnostic criteria used.
Do other factors play a role?
-Factors such as greater awareness of autism by both physicians and parents, improved access to services, and disability-related legislation also have influenced the estimates of autism prevalence the past 30 years, however, the U of U study eliminated those factors and showed that the broader criteria, alone, had a significant effect on the increased autism rates.
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)