Australia's first national autism study has grim facts to state. The study estimates that more than 10, 000 children aged between 6 and 12 have autism and that it also takes more than two years to diagnose the complex developmental disorder.
In addition, around 125,000 Australians suffer from some sort of autism indicted by impaired communication problems, social interaction and stilted behavior. In all, this means that autism affects half a million Australians.
Not good news, says Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders, which commissioned the research. The board has called for a protocol of maximum 3 months before an assessment is made of autism after the necessary investigations made by a multi-disciplinary team.
Says Mick Clarke, spokesman of the board, "We should act promptly as a community to tackle autism after diagnosis, to give those who have an autism spectrum disorder the best chance in life."
Clark also explained that early intervention could make a great difference to the quality of life of a child with autism.
"The earlier we start the more likely the outcome is going to be positive", he opined.
The study provides information by way of the different methods of diagnoses and treatment of autism, and the pros and cons of each.
The report is due to be presented at a national autism conference on autism, on March 15, by lead author Perth pediatrician Dr. John Wray. He has called for more data collection on the subject in order to tackle the issue effectively.