April is Autism Awareness Month. The incidence of autism has increased from 1/10,000 in the 1970’s to 1/68 children (1/42 boys and 1/189 girls) in March of 2014. Lisa Ackerman, TACA Executive Director, has stated, “We can no longer assume we are more aware or better at diagnosing. There is just more autism. It is time we offer families help not excuses.”
The fiscal cost of the devastating neurological disease depends on its severity, but has been estimated between $1.4 - $2.4 million over a lifetime. It is not hard to see that if the rate of autism keeps dramatically increasing, this burden will not be sustainable financially or emotionally for families and individuals.
While we celebrate the wide range of neurodiversity present in our city, state, and even in our own office at Lifelong Health, we believe that adding health to every situation can help improve quality of life. Since autism affects the nervous system, the digestive system, the immune system, and the excretion systems, symptoms looks very different in different individuals. But a salutogenic approach, (a focus of health-creation) for children and adults with autism and their families has brought HUGE benefits for many, including sleep, focus, digestion, decrease in tics and improved socialization and behavior. Over the next few weeks we will discuss the know risk factors contributing to autism, and the many ways we can support health in this all-encompassing disease.