Autism Spectrum Disorder Research
The Charity Project of the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Paul E. Todd
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) encompasses a wide variation in symptom severity and functional impact which includes impairments in social communication, repetitive behavior and restricted interests. Autism does not discriminate, affecting children on a global scale regardless of age, weight, race, ethnic and socio-economic groupings and overall health.
There is general agreement that causes of ASD are genetic and/or environmental factors.
It is more common than previously assumed with a population prevalence of an estimated 1 in 68 or about 67,00 children aged 3-20.
Worldwide there are an estimated 20 million diagnosed cases.
Boys with ASD outnumber girls by as much as 4:1, but the underlying reasons for this difference remain elusive.
Early detection through improved awareness, family studies, and better screening programs, allows early and effective interventions.The best practices for pre-school-aged children with ASD include a focus on improving language, and cognitive and adaptive skills using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques.
The demands on the health care system in Ontario have increased dramatically. Health care professionals in many capacities encounter children and families coping with ASD.
Optimal care depends on a large network of providers, given the breadth and complexity of associated medical issues (epilepsy, ADHD, disturbed sleep, anxiety disorders, depression, gastrointestinal issues, obesity and schizophrenia).
Collaboration between medical, educational and social services is of paramount importance.
The newly revamped Government of Ontario Autism Program, with an investment of some 1⁄2 billion dollars over the next 5 years will attempt to streamline consistent delivery of services across the province. However, there is no known cure for Autism and Life expectancy for individuals with autism is considerably lower than the general population.
While the prevalence of autism is high, research funding remains considerably lower than for many less prevalent disorders and disabilities.
Cheques for donations may be written out to:
Masonic Foundation of Ontario Project #2300