There is a disease that more children are diagnosed with each year than AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined. It is a disease that affects 1 in 110 children, with no known causes, and no current medical cure. This disease is autism. Autism refers to a group of complex brain developmental disorders that mainly affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. The different disorders are characterized by difficulties in social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors, all in varying degrees. These disorders include but are not limited to Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and of course autistic disorder. These different diseases are referred to as the "autism spectrum", which simply refers to the different levels of diagnosis that are possible. Children on the autism spectrum may share similar traits, but this spectrum also makes them very different. Depending on their level of diagnosis, one child may be barely capable of reading and writing, while another child is high-functioning and is able to attend a normal school.
Research has shown that children as young as one year old can begin to show signs of autism. Many of the signs that are considered "red-flag indicators" for parents include lack of babbling or words by a certain age, a lack of smiles or joyful expressions at a young age, or a lack of back-and-forth sharing of sounds or other facial expressions.
This disorder is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent in children in the world, but there is a severe lack of funding for it. For example, muscular dystrophy affects 1 in 100,000 children each year, and receives $162 million in funding, while autism affects 1 in 110 children each year and only receives $79 million in funding. I believe it is important to have funding for all diseases that have any sort of detrimental effect on someone's life, but with autism as the fastest growing developmental disorder, shouldn't we as a world be more concerned about the potential negative effects of this disease than we currently seem to be?
All statistics and facts came from www.autismspeaks.org