Most families I talk to today are always looking for facts and statistics about autism to help better educate themselves and their communities. Thanks to wearing many hats in the autism community, today I wanted to share the top 59 things I believe our community should know about autism. Need a speaker for World Autism Month and/or a mentor for your teen/adult who has a developmental disability? Today, I’m a professional speaker and mentor who is on the autism spectrum who would love to work with you. Contact me here for more details!
*Note: This list is in no specific order.*
- To start… 70 million individuals worldwide have autism.
- Around 50% of individuals with autism wander from a safe environment, and over 50% go missing.
- Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States.
- 1 in 34 boys are diagnosed with autism.
- 1 in 151 girls are diagnosed with autism.
- Over 3.5 million individuals in the United States have autism.
- Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.
- Autism-related costs average $60,000 a year per family.
- Rain Man has the most Oscar wins of any autism-related film.
- Temple Grandin has the most Emmy wins of any autism-related film.
- April is World Autism Month
- The average age of diagnosis of autism is 4 years of age.
- Half of children identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have average or above-average intelligence.
- A child can be diagnosed with autism as early as 18 months.
- In 2007, the United Nations declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day.
- For a long time people called April “Autism Awareness Month” or “National Autism Awareness Month.” More and more people each year though are now using either “Autism Acceptance Month” or “World Autism Month” to celebrate the month.
- As part of April 2nd, Autism Speaks started the global autism awareness initiative called Light It Up Blue.
- There is currently no medical test to detect autism or a cure.
- About 25 percent of individuals with autism are nonverbal.
- 30-50% of individuals with autism also have seizures.
- Dr. Leo Kanner was the first to describe autism in 1943.
- You can see the signs of autism in infants as young as six months.
- About 1% of the world population has autism.
- The Majority of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed.
- 1 in 5 Americans currently have a disability.
- Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually.
- African-American and Hispanic children are diagnosed far later than Caucasian children.
- There is a wide spectrum of Autism-related disorders. If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.
- Some celebrities also have autism (i.e. Dan Aykroyd, Susan Boyle, Daryl Hannah, Temple Grandin, John Elder Robison, etc.).
- Autism is often labeled as a social and communication disorder, although some with the diagnosis may deal with other challenges such as sensory, cognitive and motor issues.
- The popular image of autism often falls with children. More than 80% of those currently on the spectrum are children.
- Drowning is the leading cause of death among children with autism.
- Suicidal thoughts are 9 times more likely in adults with autism than those without.
- Autism is a lifelong disorder. It doesn’t go away when you become an adult.
- Autism Speaks currently has 40 tool kits and counting to help better educate our community on everything from early intervention to adulthood. They are all available for free download here.
- Many people with autism have key interests that can be utilized by employers in the workplace. (i.e. just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you don’t have abilities)
- There is great literature available on autism today. Look Me in The Eye (by John Elder Robison) and The Reasons I Jump (by Naoki Higashida) for example, were two books on autism that made the NY Times Best-Seller List.
- Programs like Project Lifesaver and The Big Red Safety Tool Kit by The National Autism Association are helping to educate and provide resources for our community on the issue of wandering.
- Individuals with autism who need therapy should be seen on a case-by-case basis. If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism. Although some therapies are debated today some of the most universal therapies that are helping today are physical, occupational and speech therapy.
- Other therapies currently suggested to help individuals with autism include: Music therapy, Theatre therapy, Early Start Denver Model, Visual Schedules, Sensory Integration therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Social Story Therapy, Pivotal Response Treatment, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
- Although therapies are pivotal for individuals with autism, other things such as a healthy diet and daily exercise are seen as ways to help them progress. In the past, a Gluten-Free diet has been seen as helpful.
- More than half of children with autism are bullied at some point in their lives and twice more compared to their peers who don’t have a disability (IAN).
- More than half of bullying is also stopped when a peer intervenes showing the importance of not only autism awareness but also autism acceptance.
- People with autism are more likely to be the victims of violence then committing a violent act.
- The majority of scholarships available for individuals with autism for post-secondary programs are for those with physical disabilities. Programs such as KFM Making a Difference are offering scholarships for those with autism to help change that conversation.
- An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) helps students with disabilities from Pre-K through High School get the services they need. If they get into a post-secondary program, they lose their IEP and instead have to advocate for their accommodations through Reasonable Accommodations.
- The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) that passed through Congress provides families with the opportunity to receive tax-free savings accounts for their loved ones to save up for when they are adults.
- Many individuals with autism are self-advocates in our community and have provided powerful quotes for our community. It’s important to remember individuals with autism sometimes see autism as a part of who they are. Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the most renowned autism advocates in the world says it best with her quote “Different not less.”
- As an autism advocate for the past eight years, I’ve traveled the world talking about disability-related issues. Some time ago I was certified as a national publicly accredited speaker from The National Speakers Association. At that time, I’ve been able to write two best-selling books on autism and work on five autism-related films. You can learn more about my background at www.kerrymagro.com
- Autism is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
- Those with autism can feel empathy and love. Websites such as http://wrongplanet.net/ help provide individuals with autism the chance to make friendships and relationships with one another online.
- Autism is NOT a disease.
- Autism has found a place in television today. Shows like Atypical (Netflix), The Good Doctor (ABC) and Parenthood (used to be on NBC) have shown realistic portrayals of individuals with autism.
- People on the autism spectrum are especially vulnerable to bullying. Nearly two-thirds of these individuals have been bullied.
- There is no relevant scientific studies that indicate bleach can be a cure for autism. Unfortunately, many non-scientific studies such as these put people with autism at risk.
- While many say early intervention is the key, we need to make sure we are also providing resources to adults with autism as well when it comes to housing, employment, post-secondary, etc..
- Peer mentoring can be helpful to those on the autism spectrum (in fact, for anyone).
- There is no known scientific link currently between vaccines and autism.
- 1 in 59, individuals are currently diagnosed with autism in the United States.
Throughout the month of April and all year round I hope you share this piece to educate our community. The number of people on the autism spectrum is constantly growing. When I was growing up, the numbers were closer to 1 in 1000 individuals being diagnosed. It takes a village to make change, and we can make it a reality.
There’s no better time to start than now…
We want to hear from you to keep the conversation going! What else would you add to this list to help educate our community for World Autism Month? Maybe something we missed here that needs to be updated? Tell us in the comments!
Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education.
Have Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by sending him an inquiry here. If you have a referral for someone who many want him to speak please reach out as well! Kerry speaks with schools, businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit organizations, parent groups and other special events on topics ranging from employment, how to succeed in college with a learning disability, internal communication, living with autism, bullying prevention, social media best practices, innovation, presentation best practices and much more!