What if someone told you that there is something that can immobilize your child from doing such basic things as socializing, eating and even learning to go the restroom on their own? What if then they told you that it was a disorder that affects one in 91 children, one in 58 boys? You ask how to prevent it, they tell you that it cannot be prevented and it cannot be cured. In fact, it is so baffling that 1,000’s of researchers still have no idea what causes it. Welcome to autism.
Numbers for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), most commonly known as autism, have skyrocketed. These numbers are higher than ever, up 59% in just the past few years. Since autism is a disorder that falls on a spectrum that means that all cases are different. Common characteristics include various hypersensitivities to light, sound, touch, smell and many persons with autism are non-verbal.
Many people ask, if this number is lower or higher in the Jewish community. It is neither. However, there are areas that are more concentrated with people on the Autistic Spectrum. In the United States, this occurs in parts of California. This occurrence leads many to feel that autism is environmental. Others believe that autism comes from genetics and some see autism as a result of mercury-based chemicals, such as Thimerosal (banned in America).
There is still much to be learned about all of these possible causes. In Israel, there is also a desperate need for advancements in access to autism diagnosis. Around the world, many locations are without the proper professionals to diagnosis autism. In third world countries, access to diagnosis is non-existent.
Autism professionals having been vying to work together but according to many, that option has only been a dream, until now. The dream, a major conference, has manifested through the persistent hard work and dedication of the International Center for Autism Research, Inc. (ICare4Autism). And, it will come to life on July 5-6 at the 2010 International Autism Conference to be held in Jerusalem’s Ramada- Renaissance. The non-profit, based out of New York, also has an office in the Holy City.
At the conference, over 30 researchers, from around the globe, will showcase their original research. Advancements in autism are to be debuted. Researchers, such as experts Eric Hollander, M.D. and Eli Hatchwell, M.D. will be speaking on their fields of expertise.
For more information on this conference, please visit www.icare4autism.org. Hebrew and English is available on this website. For tickets, call: 077 424 3590
The writer of this article: Ruth Amber Gristak is the Chief of Staff for the International Center for Autism Research and Education, Inc. (ICare4Autism).