April is officially Autism Awareness month. Across the U.S., millions of Americans have been formally diagnosed as being autistic. Individuals with autism may exhibit unique symptoms, but nearly all experience difficulty making eye contact, communicating and interacting in a social setting. An autistic individual may also engage in repetitive behaviors, be unable to verbally communicate or suffer from intellectual deficiencies.
While an estimated 40 percent of autistic individuals are of average to above average intelligence, the symptoms associated with their disorder often makes it difficult to learn and hold a steady job. For parents who suspect a child may be autistic, early intervention is key to helping a child learn to cope with symptoms and meet his or her potential.
In recent decades the number of children and adults diagnosed with autism has dramatically increased. Today, an estimated one out of every 68 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with autism. Boys are roughly five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism as girls, with one out of every 42 boys being diagnosed as having some sort of disorder on the autism spectrum.
There is no cure for autism, although early and continued intervention is crucial to the healthily development of a child, adolescent and adult. While many children aren't officially diagnosed until age three, it's believed that autism develops before a child is born. While scientists and medical researchers continue to try to determine what causes autism, studies indicate both developmental and environmental factors during a woman's pregnancy likely play a role.
Children and adults with autism qualify to receive federal assistance via social security disability benefits. SSD benefits can help subsidize many of the necessities families and individuals living with autism may be unable to afford. When applying for SSD benefits, an attorney can provide advice and assistance and help ensure an application is successful and benefits are awarded as soon as possible.