What is Autism?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. People with ASDs handle information in their brain differently than other people. 

ASDs 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 with social interaction. But there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, and the exact nature of the symptoms. 

A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.

“ An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. By comparison, this is more children than are affected by diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome — combined. ”
— U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Why Support People with Autism?

  • Autism now affects 1 in 68 children
  • Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups
  • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood disorders
  • In 2012, the National Institutes of Health allocated a meager $169 million (out of $30.86 billion) directly to autism research – a mere 0.55% of its budget
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  • 1.5 million people in the US have some form of autism (over 42,000 are affected in South Carolina alone)
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism...


How LAF Can Help

Although we can not cure autism, we are here to help. LAF provides support and promotes evidence–based treatment and intervention strategies, to attain the earliest possible screening, diagnostics and intervention of individuals of all ages to help improve the individual's  development. Learn more about how LAF can help.