WHAT is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in 2 to 6 per 1,000 births (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003). Autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle, and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism's occurrence.
IS it common?
Yes, and growing in epidemic proportions. It is estimated that as many as 1.5 million Americans have autism or a related form of pervasive developmental disorder.
In Michigan alone, the incidence of autism grew by over 1000 percent between 1992 and 2001. During that same time, the total number of children and adults receiving Special Education in the State of Michigan increased by only 28 percent.