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Contact Information

Kristi Drooger
Waiver Coordinator
Phone: 231-769-2051
Email

Marnie Sherretz
Autism and Waiver Specialist
Phone: 231-769-2079
Email

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism. Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

The following "red flags" may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

Resources, Documents, and Other Information

Click HERE for access to policies, documents, links and other resources. 

Facts and Statistics

  • About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)
  • Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014
  • Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008
  • ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189). (CDC 2014). 
  • More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder (Buescher et al., 2014). 
  • Lifetime cost for someone with an autism spectrum disorder without an intellectual disability in the United States is $1.43 million (Buescher et al., 2014). 
  • Lifetime cost for someone with an autism spectrum disorder with an intellectual disability in the United States is $2.44 million (Buescher et al., 2014). 
  • Societal cost for children and adults with an autism spectrum disorder is $236 billion - $262 billion annually. (Buescher et al., 2014). 
  • Children in behavioral treatment scored significantly higher in IQ and adaptive behavior scores than the comparison group. Further, 29% (6 of 21) children were fully included in regular education without assistance and another 52% (11 of 21) were included with support. This compares to only 5% (1 of 21) children in the control group who were placed in regular education. 
  • Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. (Autism. 2007 Sep;11(5):453-63; The economic consequences of autistic spectrum disorder among children in a Swedish municipality. J√§rbrink K1.)

Trainings

Click on the links below for details about upcoming trainings. 

Navigating the Sea of Autism and Adolescence 

Summary:
Individuals with ASD experience the same challenges of Adolescence as other teenagers--but in the extreme! This presentation focuses on practical ideas for teaching sexuality, hygiene, critical concepts and the complicated issues of teenage relationships. Resources, visual supports, and curriculum will be provided for discussion. Ms. Beytien will share her real-life experiences working with, and raising, teenagers with ASD.