Autism Prevalence, Challenges, and Supports: Understanding the Complexities of this Neurodevelopmental Disorder

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. It is estimated that 1 in 36 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2020 data reported by the CDC. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

Although autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2, most children are still being diagnosed after age 4. This highlights the importance of early intervention, which has been shown to improve learning, communication, and social skills, as well as underlying brain development. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) and therapies based on its principles are the most researched and commonly used behavioral interventions for autism. Many children affected by autism also benefit from other interventions such as speech and occupational therapy.

While autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often. This delay in diagnosis can affect access to appropriate interventions and supports. Therefore, it is essential to raise awareness and understanding of autism in all communities to ensure timely diagnosis and access to services.

The causes of autism are not fully understood, but research indicates that genetics are involved in the vast majority of cases. Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having autism, and parents who have a child with ASD have a 2 to 18 percent chance of having a second child who is also affected. Studies have also shown that among identical twins, if one child has autism, the other will be affected about 36 to 95 percent of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has autism, then the other is affected about 31 percent of the time.

Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: vaccines do not cause autism.

Autism can also be associated with a range of medical and mental health conditions. For instance, as many as one-third of people with autism have epilepsy, and more than half of children with autism have one or more chronic sleep problems. Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 11 to 40 percent of children and teens on the autism spectrum, and depression affects an estimated 7% of children and 26% of adults with autism.

Autism is also associated with challenges in daily function, such as developmental regression, where the child loses previously acquired skills, and wandering or bolting, which affects nearly half of those with autism. Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied, and nearly 28 percent of 8-year-olds with ASD have self-injurious behaviors such as head banging, arm biting, and skin scratching.

Caregivers and families of individuals with autism face significant challenges as well. On average, autism costs an estimated $60,000 a year through childhood, with the bulk of the costs in special services and lost wages related to increased demands on one or both parents. Mothers of children with ASD, who tend to serve as the child’s case manager and advocate, are less likely to work outside the home and earn significantly less than mothers of children with no health limitations or other disabilities.

In adulthood, many young adults with autism face significant challenges in finding employment and accessing healthcare transition services. More than half of young adults with autism remain unemployed and unenrolled in higher education in the two years after high school. Furthermore, the cost of caring for Americans with autism had reached $268 billion in 2015 and would rise to $461 billion by 2025 in the absence of more-effective interventions and support across the life span.

In conclusion, autism is a significant public health concern that affects many individuals and families.

A New Year’s resolution list can help caregivers make positive changes.

We either love them or avoid them, but no matter what our stance on New Year’s resolutions, there is something incredibly refreshing about stepping into a whole new year, providing us with a clean slate and the chance to make any modifications we want to improve total well-being or to accomplish a brand new goal or dream.

For family caregivers, New Year’s resolution lists tend to be particularly significant, mainly because they affect not merely the caregivers themselves, but their senior loved ones. It’s important, however, to keep resolutions sensible. Resolving, for instance, to get a full eight hours of sleep each night, while caring for a family member who has problems with sundowning issues in Alzheimer’s, could be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Try instead to think about one of the following resolutions especially developed with family caregivers in mind:

  1. I shall reach out for help and support, and take assistance when offered.
  2. I give myself permission to say “no” to requests to prevent dealing with more than I am able to handle.
  3. I will make my own health (both physical and mental) a priority, making sure that I set up and keep medical-related checkups and appointments.
  4. I will remind myself that self-care is not selfish, and that by taking good care of myself, I’m able to take better care of my loved one.
  5. I will take note of my energy level, and make a plan in order to avoid allowing myself to reach the point of exhaustion, burnout, or depression.


Starting with a no-cost in-home consultation, we will listen to the particular needs and challenges of your loved one, and develop a customized plan of care to fulfill those needs, through many different services such as:

  • Help with personal hygiene, dressing, ambulation and transfers
  • Running errands, such as buying groceries and picking up prescriptions
  • Accompanied transportation to medical appointments and enjoyable outings
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Meal planning and preparation, according to any prescribed dietary plans
  • Engagement in conversations, reminiscing, games, and exercise, along with other pastimes that are of interest to the older adult
  • And many others
Senior Care in Avon MA: Confidence After Falling

Regaining Confidence After Falling: How Can You Help?

Unfortunately, there are many elderly adults that fall for various reasons. They may slip and fall on ice. They could trip over something in their home or they may just be unsteady on their feet. No matter the reason for their fall, the majority of elderly adults that fall lose their confidence when walking. This can increase the risk of having more falls. The good news is that there are some ways you and caregivers can help your loved one to regain their confidence after falling.


Senior Care in Avon MA: Confidence After Falling
Senior Care in Avon MA: Confidence After Falling

Validating Emotions

After your loved one’s fall, don’t be surprised if they start to get scared when walking again. They might think they are going to fall again. This is a legitimate fear and understandable, as well. Be sure that you validate the way that your elderly loved one is feeling. Let them know that you understand and that you are there for them. This might help them to feel a little better and start getting them a little less afraid of walking.

Rehab Centers

After a fall, your elderly loved one might need an outpatient rehab center to help them regain their confidence in walking. This might be something that their doctor recommends. However, if their doctor hasn’t said anything about it, you can mention it to their doctor. The outpatient rehab center professionals can help your loved one to walk strongly again. It might take some time, but your loved one can regain their stamina, flexibility, and strength.


Get Them Moving More

It is not uncommon for an elderly adult who has had a fall to sit down more often than they used to. However, this isn’t going to be good for preventing future falls. In fact, living a sedentary lifestyle is going to increase the risk of falling again. You and caregivers can get your loved one moving more often. They might be fearful of doing this at first, but in time and with support, they will start feeling more confident.

Improving Home Safety

Another way that you can help to boost your loved one’s confidence after a fall is to improve their home’s safety. For example, if you put grab bars in your loved one’s bathroom, they won’t feel as scared getting in and out of the shower. In addition, if you put slip-proof rugs in their living room, they won’t have to worry so much about slipping on the rug. By checking out the safety in your loved one’s home, you can help them to feel safer and more confident in their own home.


These are some of the tips for helping your elderly loved on to regain their confidence after a fall. Use these tips to get your loved one up and moving again.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Senior Care in Avon, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.



Caregiver in Avon MA: Look for Clues

Where Should You Look for Clues about Your Senior’s Wellness?

As a caregiver, you’re constantly looking for those little signs here and there that let you know what’s going on with your senior’s situation. These are some of the main areas in which you should be looking and what it might look like if your elderly family member is in need of a little more assistance.


Any Changes to How Things Run in Her Home

You’re probably pretty familiar with how your senior’s home runs, whether you’re deeply involved in that process or not. So, if something changes, that will probably stand out to you. For instance, your elderly family member might not be making her bed every morning anymore or she might be letting household tasks pile up. If these are big changes from how she usually did things, that can be a sign of something else going on.


Her Personality and Her Mood

When you start to notice that your senior’s mood or even her personality seems to be changing, that could be a sign to look deeper. Cognitive changes can bring both mood and personality changes with them and if your senior is nervous about her health, she might respond differently than usual. Her emotional health can also help you to determine if she might not be socializing as much as she needs to be.


How She’s Doing Physically

Your elderly family member’s physical well-being involves a lot of different variables like how well she’s eating, how well she’s able to walk, and even whether she’s experiencing side effects from her medications. It’s a good idea to talk to her doctor about what you’re seeing and about what else might be impacting your elderly family member’s health.


Whether She’s Still Driving

Your senior’s ability to drive is something that can tell you a lot about how she’s doing, too. If she’s avoiding driving, there’s likely a very good reason. But sometimes people should no longer be driving and are determined to keep going. It’s really important to get an idea of how well your senior is driving so that you can put some solutions in place for her.

Whether she needs just a little bit of assistance with some of these areas or she needs a lot more help than you realized, senior care providers can be the answer you’re seeking. They can help with a variety of tasks and let you know what they’re seeing that you might have missed.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Avon, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.

Home Health Care in Avon MA: Senior Care Assistance

What Are the Biggest Issues Facing Your Senior Right Now?

Odds are really good that your senior has more than one issue that she needs help with at the moment. When you understand the biggest issues in her way, though, you can put the right help in place for her.


Help with Household Tasks

Household tasks, like keeping up with the laundry and the cleaning, might be something your elderly family member never had an issue within the past. But as her health and her capabilities changed, so did her ability to keep up with these tasks. Having help from someone else can keep her home environment safe and clean while also allowing her to conserve her energy for the activities that really matter.


Help with Personal Care Tasks

Personal care tasks like bathing, grooming, and getting dressed are tasks that can become a lot more difficult for your aging adult over time. She might have issues with mobility that keep her from being able to do these tasks or she might simply run out of energy midway through each task. Help from home care providers ensures that she’s able to continue to bathe and to get dressed without experiencing difficulties in the process.


Transportation Assistance

Transportation can be a huge issue for aging family members. Whether she’s still able to drive or not, it might be time to talk to your senior about finding other ways for her to get where she needs and wants to go. Having senior care providers doing the driving instead of your elderly family member can give her the freedom that she wants while also keeping her safe.


Help with Remaining Mobile

Beyond getting around town, your senior might have issues getting around, period. Mobility becomes a huge issue for older adults. Keeping your elderly family member safe often means having someone else there who is well-versed in helping with transferring someone and helping someone move around.



Your elderly family member’s biggest need right now might simply be having someone she can talk to throughout the day. Even if they don’t talk about much, having someone there can be soothing for your senior. Talk with her about what she needs and wants in terms of socialization.

Your senior’s needs may well change over time and as her health improves or worsens. Each circumstance that changes for her can also change what she needs and what the best response is from you and from other people in her life.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Avon, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.