In 1994, Autism occurred in 1 of every 166 births. In 2000-2002, it was 1 in 150. 2006 saw that statistic go down to 1 in 110, and just today the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a very sobering statistic. The newest data (as of 2008) shows autism occurring in 1 of every 88 births.
1 in 88.
That statistic is mind blowing. In the past ten years, that's a 78% increase. How do we stop that steep of an increase from happening again? Can we make it go away by curing it? It's a tough nut to crack. Autism isn't something you can stop as it still isn't clear what exactly causes it. It's not a disease, so there's no magic pharmaceutical that's going to cure it.
So what can we do?
We can broaden our awareness. Know the warning signs, because early diagnosis is key. The sooner it's discovered, the sooner the proper services can be sought and administered. It is likely that with these services, the autism will have less of an impact on their learning capabilities and social skills in the long run, according to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. I know this first hand as Jordan has benefited tremendously from them.
Those of us without medical degrees and licenses that would allow us to diagnose and treat Autism can still help. We can get the word out. We can let people know that, though we can't see it, Autism is out there. Let's all of us pledge to light it up blue this Monday April 2nd. If you can't light it up blue, wear your blue. Whether it's a shirt, a pair of socks, or your blue jeans. If you have puzzle piece jewelry, wear that too. Even the smallest tokens can make a world of difference.
Here's the story on CNN:
Take the 2012 Pledge to Light it Up Blue on Facebook:
And here's a little something I made, as Jordan's favorite movie right now is 'Rio'