The CDC now reports that the number of U.S. children with autism has soared to 1 in 68 – this is a 30% increase since it had estimated that 1 in 88 children have the disorder only two years ago.
To get this estimate, they looked at records in 2010 for 8-year-olds in 11 states. Through their research they also saw an increase in the number of children with higher IQs who fall on the autism spectrum – and a wide range of results depending on where they live (for example, only 1 in 175 was diagnosed with autism in Alabama, while 1 in 45 was diagnosed in New Jersey).
Why the big jump? No one can say for sure, but it could be due the growing awareness of autism and better identification of it in children.
And, also eye-opening, as noted in this NPR article, a 2011 study found that in South Korea, 1 in 38 children met the criteria for autism – and the U.S. is now on pace to reach the same conclusion within a few years.
This video features Brynjar Karl, a young boy in Iceland, who is making his dream known – and it involves LEGO.
Brynjar’s mom is a producer and filmmaker is who working on a documentary about autism and her son, who is autistic, is helping her do it. LEGOs have been a creative outlet for Brynjar, and as his mom explains, Brynjar has a great passion for cruise ships, with his favorite one being the Titanic. So Brynjar is making his request with a dream in mind – he wants to go to the LEGO factory in Billund and for them to give him the chance to build his own Titanic ship.
As his mom says, “He is sure he can do this and, knowing what he has accomplished over the years, I believe him!”
We invite—actually, encourage– you to read Ron Suskind’s recent piece for the New York Times, in which he beautifully captures the journey he and his family have been on since his younger son, Owen, was diagnosed with autism. Owen was just 3-years-old when he was diagnosed—a once chatty, engaged child full of speech went silent, stopped sleeping, wouldn’t make eye contact. It was, as doctors determined, regressive autism.
Something that remained even after autism had silenced Owen was his love of Disney movies. And it was this love of Disney movies that led their family down an interesting road because, as they learned over time, they were able to use these Disney movies to connect and communicate with their son – and it turned into something that they devoted a lot of their lives to cultivate.
The comparative photos below can speak for themselves, but Riley’s mom, Tania, shared how the Son-Rise program has impacted her son’s life.
Riley at 18 months old
Riley 3 years old – after Son Rise
Tania took part in the Son-Rise Program, New Frontiers, and she shared that after applying the techniques taught to her, Riley went from running in circles covering his ears at a playground to a child that is now enjoying a social life! You can read more from Tania, and other families, on the Son-Rise / Autism Treatment Center of America Facebook page.