In the last couple years, everybody’s been buzzing about autism, a brain development disorder that affects one in roughly 110 kids born in the United States each year–plus all the grown ups who’ve lived with it all their lives. But why all the fuss all of a sudden? Sure, there have always been kids with special needs, but in recent years, we’ve seen a ton more cases of autism than ever before–it’s 600 percent more common than it was just 20 years ago! Nobody’s exactly sure why so many boys and girls are being affected by the disorder, but since it’s pretty likely you already know someone living with autism, or that you will in your lifetime, it’s good to know the facts:
* Lots of really famous (and super talented!) people have had autism. Experts think Albert Einstein may have been autistic, and the creator of the Pokemon series was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.
* Autism affects boys four times more than it affects girls.
* Symptoms of autism can include repetitive movements like rocking or swaying, difficulty communicating with other people and making friends.
* 25 percent of people with autism are non-verbal, meaning they don’t talk.
* Some autistic people are severely affected by the disorder, while others only have a slight impairment–you can’t assume a person’s abilities just by hearing they’re autistic. Everyone’s different.
* Making fun of someone with autism isn’t cool or funny. Autistic people can’t help that they have this disorder, and their families work really hard to take care of them.
It can be hard to understand people who are different from us without the facts, but now that you know, you can help your friends and family be more aware, too.
Does someone you care about have autism? Have you ever met anyone on the autism spectrum? Tell us what you’ve learned about autism in the comments!
what is autism