April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. A quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness and acceptance and draw attention to the tens of thousands facing diagnosis of the disorder each year. Toward that end, April was declared Autism Awareness Month in 2007. The goal of the annual event (as well as the society), is to encourage acceptance and appreciation for anyone who is diagnosed as autistic. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a “spectrum” disorder because of the wide variety of type and severity of symptoms patients experience.
Conditions and syndromes related to or commonly occurring alongside autism:
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
- Autistic Disorder
- Autoimmune diseases
- Difficulties in motor coordination and attention
- See more at ResearchAutism.net
Debating the Cause
In some cases, people who have ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Though the childhood vaccination debate suggests a connection, analysis of 10 studies involving more than 1.2 million children reveals that vaccines do not cause autism. In fact, experts assert the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) shot may decrease risk.
But MMR is not the only vaccine or vaccine component that has been targeted as a potential catalyst. After the MMR controversy died down, critics turned questions to thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative found in some vaccines. Used widely since the 1930s, the organic preservative is said to help prevent potentially life-threatening contamination from harmful microbes. Scientists refute a causal link between Thimerosal and ASD. Others point to vaccines, gluten, cell phone radiation, sugar, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), traumatic birth, childhood illnesses, and even spider bites. The bottom line is, to date, the cause and cure remain unknown.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports the following data relative to ASD prevalence:
- About 1 in 68 children has been identified with ASD.
- ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
- ASD is about 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).
- In Asia, Europe and North America, individuals with ASD average between 1% and 2% of the total population.
Signs that May Signal Autism
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships
- Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
Autistic Dental Care
As with all special needs, dental care must be tailor-made to people who have Autism. Autism Speaks has prepared a free kit designed for dental professionals as well as parents and caregivers to help ease dental examinations and treatment for Autistic patients. The kit is offers dentists tips about how to make the experience more successful for patients with autism. What’s more, it helps families and caregivers find the right dentist so they can decrease anxiety the patient may feel about going to the dentist.
The Autism Speaks dental tool kit includes:
- Forms for your visit
- A visual schedule to help the patient understand the steps involved in a routine dentist appointment
- Information about oral care at home
We will happily treat any patients who have Autism. Call today to schedule an appointment for the ASD person you love. Since Dr. Fred specializes in minimizing anxiety for all of his patients, treating patients with ASD is something he is well prepared to do.
About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California
Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.