Number of people with autism increasing
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - April 10, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The number of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Philippines and other countries worldwide has almost doubled in the past six years and the number is still rising.

Erlinda Borromeo, Autism Speaks Foundation president, said one in 68 children worldwide has autism. The figure is way above the .5 cases in every 1,000 children in the 1980s and one in 110 children in 2008.

In the Philippines, estimated cases of autism rose from 500,000 in 2008 to one million people at present.

“The number could be much higher since there are still a lot of areas in the Philippines not covered,” Borromeo said.

Health experts have attributed the increase to better detection methods, but genetics and environmental factors could also be among the causes.

Autism is a developmental disorder with a range of difficulties in social, emotional and communication skills, which occurs in all racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups. It is more common among boys (1 in 42) than girls (1 in 189).

World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated yearly in the month of April.

Borromeo’s group is pushing for the establishment of a comprehensive program to establish an up-to-date prevalence rate of autism in the Philippines. Her group is working with the Department of Health and Department of Social Welfare and Development to implement the program.

Borromeo said many parents from poor families are not aware that their children have autism and that is why their children do not get the right treatment and intervention.

Early detection is very important in autism management, so Borromeo’s group is also pushing for early screening for autism and other developmental disorders for children as young as 18 months to four years.

“Early intervention improves both brain and behavioral development and with them, a child’s long-term outcomes,” she explained.

AUTISM AUTISM SPEAKS FOUNDATION BORROMEO CHILDREN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT EARLY ERLINDA BORROMEO IN THE PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
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