Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children with autism have difficulty communicating with others, and may experience aggressive or self-injurious behavior. Restrictive and repetitive movements and resistance to change in routine may also be experienced. Some children with autism may appear normal before age 1-2 and then lose social skills they had previously demonstrated.
There are a limited number of clinicians in South Carolina who are specifically trained to treat persons with autism, and funding to pay for treatment is extremely limited. Furthermore, there is no single effective approach and treatment for those affected. Often, parents of autistic children don’t know who to call for help or face financial barriers once the system is navigated. The combination of high prevalence, low number of trained providers and an absence of funding magnify the urgency of: 1) developing a systematic approach to diagnosis, 2) defining the best approaches to treatment, and 3) establishing a research program to understand the causes of autism.