Category: Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness activities increase the knowledge of Autism and impart information about the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention.

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to surroundings, and form relationships with others. Also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. ASD now includes conditions that used to be diagnosed separately. These include Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder.

Get the Facts

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, Autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the United States today.
  • Symptoms usually are noticed by the time a child is two years old.
  • The exact cause of ASD is not known.
  • ASD tends to run in families and occurs more often in people with certain genetic conditions such as fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis.
  • The risk of having a baby with ASD is higher if the birth parent is older, has another child who has Autism or has a family history of learning problems.
  • Each person with Autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges, as ASD can range from mild to severe.
  • Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives. In contrast, others may need less help and, in some cases, live entirely independently.
    Others may develop social and verbal skills and lead independent lives as adults.

Take Action

  • Learn more about the symptoms and treatment options for Autism.
  • Educate yourself about ASD. Learning all you can about ASD can help you know how to help your child develop independence.
  • Diagnosing ASD involves a combination of screening questions, assessments, and evaluation of the way a child behaves and interacts with others.
  • As a parent, you know your child best and are their best advocate. If you are concerned, share your observations with your doctor.
  • Well-child visits are essential, as screening questions are usually asked at the 18-month and 24-month timeframe.
  • Treating ASD early gives you the tools and support to help your child lead the best life possible.
  • An essential part of your child’s treatment plan is to make sure that other family members get training about ASD and how to help manage symptoms.
  • Like any other child, your child has strengths and weaknesses. Help build on their strengths by encouraging your child to explore interests at home and in school.
  • Plan breaks. The daily demands of caring for a child with ASD can take their toll. Planned breaks will help you connect with others in your family or have time for yourself. Make time for an activity you enjoy, even if you can only do it for a few minutes each day.
  • Get extra help when your child gets older. The teen years can be a challenging time for children with ASD.
  • Reach out to other families who have children with ASD to talk about your problems and share advice with people who will understand.
  • Plan for your child’s future. Take steps to ensure that your adult child will have proper care and resources throughout life..

Find a Doctor

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.


phone number