The Occurrence of Autism


Autism afflicts approximately 5 children per 10,000. Ritvo et al. (1989) has indicated a genetic basis in autism, but it is not considered a causal factor in the etiology since none has yet to surface. Ritvo et al. (1989) cited 20 families out of 207 having more than one autistic child. They also noted that there is no correlation between autism and racial makeup, religious affiliation, parental employment and education (Ritvo et al., 1989).

Thus, autism can “crash” into a family of any race and educational background and crush any hopes and dreams they may have had for their child. While autism is blind to race, religion, and socioeconomic status (SES), it is not blind to the sex of the child. Autism afflicts more boys than girls with a ratio of 4:1 (DSM IV, 1994). Girls are also at an increased risk of severe mental retardation and maladaptive behavior problems such as face hitting, a form of self-injurious behavior (DSM IV, 1994).

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