April is National Autism Awareness Month

Each year, in the month of April, various organizations around the country rally together to bring awareness and education regarding autism, a developmental disability normally detected in children between the ages of two and three. One such event happening locally–Walk Now For Autism Speaks–is happening on Saturday, April 26, 2014 in Los Angeles.

Autism spectrum disorder includes several conditions, including, Asperger syndrome, autistic disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Autism is characterized by the delay in development of speech in small children, as well as awkward social interactions including the refusal to make eye contact. In some children, any social stimulus or attempts at interaction are completely ignored or extremely difficult, which results in trouble forming — and maintaining — meaningful friendships and other relationships later in life (although autistic children tend to become and remain attached to their primary caregivers). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that two million children are born with autism-related disorders annually, or 1 in 68. While there is no cure, early detection and treatment can greatly improve a child’s development.

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