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about autism

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that affects a person’s ability to interact socially with others, communicate and learn. The disease also affects children physically – both in fine and gross motor skills and with regard to living skills like dressing, toileting, bathing and others.

The onset of Autism is typically diagnosed in children between the ages of 1 – 3 years. It is called a spectrum disorder due to variance and degree of the symptoms for each child. Other disorders diagnosed as ASD include Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

Autism is reaching epidemic proportions throughout the world. The rate of incidence of ASD has increased ten-fold over the past 40 years. Statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identify about 1 in 88 American children as on the Autism Spectrum. Indications are that this rate will continue to climb. There is no cure for Autism, only ongoing therapy, but research has shown that early intervention is key to helping these children reach their full potential.

Annual costs associated with habilitation, speech, physical and occupational therapy, intervention and special schools, home and / or center based therapy can far exceed $50,000 per child. Many of these therapies are not covered by traditional healthcare insurance. Examples of some of these costs are:

  •           Home therapy (ABA) - $40,000+ per year (40 hours per week)
              Special schools or center based therapy - $25,000 - $50,0000 per year
              Physical and occupational therapy - $5,000 - $7,500 per year
              Speech therapy - $5,000 - $7,500 per year
              Respite services - $5,000+ per year  

With the proper therapies many children with ASD are capable of living more productive and self supportive lives. Due to the costs of these programs many families are unable to provide early intervention and on-going therapy for their children.

Our goal of the Lil MAC Kids Foundation is to provide financial assistance to help bridge this gap.  

Please join us in our efforts to raise Autism Awareness, support education, and most importantly, to assist families living with Autism - we can't do it alone!  

fast facts

Did you know:    * Figures provided by Autism Speaks.

Autism affects 1 in 88 children.

Autism affects 1 in 54 boys.

Autism prevalence figures continue to grow.

More children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

Autism costs the nation over $137 billion per year.

Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.

Boys are four times more likely than girls to have Autism.

There is no medical detection or cure for Autism.

Prevalence vs. Private Funding

Leukemia: Affects 1 in 1,200 / Funding: $277 million

Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 100,000 / Funding: $162 million

Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 300 / Funding: $394 million

Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $156 million

Autism: Affects 1 in 88 / Funding: $79 million

National Institutes of Health Funds Allocation:

Total 2011 NIH budget: $30.5 billion

Of this, only $196 million goes directly to autism research. This represents 0.6% of total NIH funding.

personality traits

Autistic people normally exhibit some of these personality traits:

Resistance to change

Difficulty expressing needs (pointing instead of using words)

Repetitive use of words / phrases

Laughing / crying for no apparent reason

Preference to being alone (often aloof)

Throws constant tantrums

Difficulty socializing / mixing with others

Avoids eye contact

Obsessive attachment to objects

No real fear of Danger

Spinning / flicking objects

Over / Under sensitivity to pain

Uneven gross / fine motor skills

Non-responsive to verbal-cues

autism spectrum disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), also known as Pevasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs), are “spectrum disorders.” That means ASDs affect each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe.

People with ASDs share some similar symptoms, such as problems in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. But there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, and the exact nature of the symptoms.

These disorders are usually first diagnosed in early childhood and range from a severe form, called Autistic Disorder, through Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

Learn more about the Autism Spectrum Disorders by clicking on the links in the image below: