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It's a perfect day to support Autism!

Posted on June 28 2011

Most of you by now have at least heard the term Autism, even if you don't know anyone in your family or social circles who has Autism. Most of us don't pay attention to something till it directly affects us. Like most others, while I was aware of the word Autism, I had never really looked deeply into the subject until relatively recently when a loved one in the family was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In dealing with a loved one on the spectrum, I have come to realize what a difficult problem it is to explain to others who are not fully aware of it. An autistic person's behavior is often misunderstood by onlookers. What may seem like bad behavior or socially inappropriate behavior is often beyond the control of the autistic person. An autistic child often struggles to express his true needs and may "act out". 

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. (source: Wikipedia)

Autism is also referred to by another term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As the word spectrum indicates, there are a number of neural development disorders that fall into the Autistic Spectrum - these include classic Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Rett syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Syndrome. A child may be diagnosed on the Autistic spectrum with any one of the above conditions and the severity of the symptoms can vary quite widely by individual. 

By any measure, the increased incidence of Autism today is alarming, even if some experts do not categorize it as an epidemic. To put things in perspective, let us take a look at facts from

    Did you know ...
    • Autism now affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys
    • Autism prevalence figures are growing
    • More children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
    • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
    • Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
    • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
    • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have Autism
    • There is no medical detection or cure for Autism
    Prevalence vs. Private Funding
    • Leukemia: Affects 1 in 1,200 / Funding: $277 million
    • Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 100,000 / Funding: $162 million
    • Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 300 / Funding: $394 million
    • Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $156 million
    • Autism: Affects 1 in 110 / Funding: $79 million
    National Institutes of Health Funds Allocation
    • Total 2010 NIH budget: $35.6 billion 
    • Of this, only $218 million goes directly to Autism research. This represents 0.6% of total NIH funding.
    As is evident from the above facts, while the incidence of Autism is extremely high, the funding allocated for research and supporting those on the autistic spectrum is quite low. While many theories abound trying to explain the increase in Autism, no definitive cause for this increase has been determined. 

    It is also not clear why research funding for Autism is rather limited despite this dramatic increase in incidence. Perhaps one of the reasons is the general lack of awareness of Autism. As a result, this year we have decided to donate 5% of all our proceeds to non-profits that are doing research and support services for Autism Spectrum Disorders . Everyone deserves a perfect day. Those on the spectrum need the support of family and friends and also the solid backing of scientific research to cope with their condition and help find better solutions so they can have a perfect life! 

    Have a Perfect Day! 

    Founder, It's A Perfect Day ®

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