The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) in multiple communities in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder; roughly 30% higher than previous reports. The data also show that ASD is almost five times more common among boys than girls, which includes 1 in 42 boys versus 1 in 189 girls
Autism Speaks defines autism as a complex disorder of the brain with a wide variety of symptoms from mild to severe and early signs can be determined typically at 2 to 3 years old. If facial expressions of joy, pointing, gesturing, waving are absent in the first year and the child cannot talk by two years, an evaluation should be completed by your physician. A checklist on the Autism Speak website is available to determine if your child should be screened.
Autism Speaks celebrates Light It Up Blue along with the international autism community, in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day which is tomorrow, April 2nd. In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities that take part to Light It Up Blue. See the website for more information.
Autism affects the ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally and identify emotions. Fear of change or frustration can create self-injurious behavior as well as to others with those that have profound autism. For example, an eleven-year-old who learned that his special needs summer camp had cancelled his usual swimming day at the pool because of bad weather, had a very fearful difficulty understanding what had happened. Along with pacing in the classroom back and forth, he would try to hit anyone who followed him. It took some time, but eventually he was able to handle the disappointment with less aggression.
Health insurance was also a concern for those with autism but now with the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans can no longer deny those with autism. And all marketplace plans include an autism screening for children at 18 to 24 months.
It is important for parents to have a life insurance plan or a special needs trust in the event that something happens to them when taking care of a child with severe autism. Going to court to make sure that appropriate and legal guardianship is established is another way to make sure your child is taken care of in the future.
Getting a life insurance plan for your disabled child is a more complicated issue and again will depend on the child’s level of functioning. High level functioning autism individuals with no other medical conditions or disabilities may not necessarily be declined. Life insurance is available for those with a disability but it is essential that you talk to an insurance specialist who can advise you on the best protection for you and your family.