Autism Awareness Month

In the UK, over half a million people have been diagnosed with autism and countless others are touched by it in their everyday lives as family members, friends and careers of those who are affected. Autism is a lifelong condition that requires a lifetime of care and treatment and one which is often misunderstood.

As part of Autism Awareness month, Johnny L. Matson, Editor-in-Chief of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Research in Developmental Disabilities, has selected 6 articles on autism which we are delighted to make freely available

  1. What is the evidence for long term effects of early autism interventions?
    Matson, J.L. & Kunst, M.J.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 7, Issue 3, March 2013
  2. Parental perspectives on the importance and likelihood of adult outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities or multiple disabilities
    Poon, K.K., Koh, L. & Magiati, I.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 7, Issue 2, February 2013
  3. Sex, gender and the diagnosis of autism – A biosocial view of the male preponderance
    Goldman, S.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 7, Issue 6, June 2013
  4. Autism spectrum disorder phenotype in children with ambulatory cerebral palsy: A descriptive  cross-sectional study
    Smile, A., Dupuis, A., MacArthur, C., Roberts, W. & Fehlings, D.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 7, Issue 2, February 2013.
  5. Restricted and  repetitive behaviors and psychiatric symptoms in youth with autism spectrum  disorders
    Stratis, E.A. & Le Cavalier, L.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 7, Issue 6, June 2013
  6. Psychometric properties of the Chinese version of the Social Responsiveness Scale
    Gau, S. S.-F. Liu, L.-T., Wu, Y.-Y., Chiu, Y,-N. & Tsai, W.-C.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 7, Issue 2, February 2013

Five Facts About Autism:

  1. Autism is NOT curable. There is no evidence that autism can be cured, however intervention programs have proven highly successful for eliminating or greatly improving many of the most serious symptoms of the disorder. Researchers have also learned that the earlier and more intensive the intervention the better. The best early intervention methods to date use applied behaviour analysis and related learning based methods.(1)
  2. Autism is a lifelong disorder. The best evidence suggests that autism is neurodevelopmental and begins early in life. However, the condition is life-long with various specific symptoms waxing and waning with time. These findings underscore the need for lifelong support and treatment.(2)
  3. More males are diagnosed with autism than females. The reasons for more males being identified with autism at higher rates than females are unclear at this time, although environmental, cultural and biological factors are all suspected. (6)
  4. Other conditions such as anxiety disorders or Cerebral Palsy occur frequently with autism. Autism is a risk factor for a host of problems including a range of emotional problems, especially ADHD, anxiety and depression. Challenging behaviours such as self- injury, aggression and temper tantrums are also more common in this group relative to the general population. Physical problems such as poor or slow motor development, as well as such difficulties as Developmental Coordination Disorder and Cerebral Palsy are also common. (4,5)
  5. Autism is a worldwide problem. Studies on prevalence and symptom presentation of autism have been conducted worldwide. The general consensus appears to be that with the exception of a few subtle differences in presentation due to culture, symptoms are generally universal and prevalence rates are similar across countries. (6)