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.

5 Benefits of Exercise for Seniors and Aging Adults

You’ve probably heard it before: physical activity and exercise are healthy for you, and you should try to incorporate them into your daily routine. Numerous studies have shown the major health benefits of exercise, which get more important as we age. Seniors who engage in regular physical activity and exercise improve their mental and physical health, which will help them preserve their independence as they get older. We’ve listed five advantages of fitness for elderly and aging adults below.

1. Prevent Disease

Studies have shown that keeping regular physical activity can help decrease the likelihood of heart disease and diabetes. Exercise can boost the immune system, which is significant for seniors as their immune systems are often impaired. Even light activity, such as walking, can help prevent avoidable diseases.

2. Improved Mental Health

Exercising has several mental health benefits. Endorphins (the “feel good” hormones) are released during exercise and work as a stress reliever, leaving you feeling pleased, satisfied and energized. In addition, exercise is known to help enhance sleep, which can help prevent sleepless nights and irregular sleep patterns.

3. Decreased Risks of Falls

Falls can happen more often as you get older, which can reduce maintaining independence. Exercise increases strength and flexibility, which helps with balance and coordination, lowering the chance of falling. It takes older adults longer to recover from falls, so exercises like yoga can help build strength to prevent falls.

4. Social Engagement

Whether you join a walking group, join a group fitness class or visit a gardening club, exercise can become an enjoyable social event. For aging folks, having a scheduled activity can help create a sense of purpose, and something to look forward to. Above all, choose an activity that you enjoy, and it will never feel like a chore again.

5. Improved Cognitive Function

Cognitive function is strengthened by regular physical activity and fine motor skills. Numerous studies show that physically active people have a lower risk of dementia, regardless of when they start a habit.

In Conclusion
Exercise is beneficial to your health; all you have to do is make it a priority and a part of your everyday life. Exercise has been demonstrated to prevent disease, reduce the chance of falls, promote mental health and well-being, strengthen social bonds, and improve cognitive performance in the elderly population. We hope that, regardless of your age, this will inspire you to incorporate fitness into your daily routine.

Get in touch with Rivers of Hope, if you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a Home Care Services in Fall River, MA. Call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. We provide Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas. Visit to learn more about us

Elderly Care in Brockton MA: Musical Sound Tracks

Six Musicals That Distract Your Mom During Personal Care Routines

When you’re helping your mom with personal care tasks like bathing and grooming, it can be uncomfortable for you both.
Put on a musical soundtrack that you both enjoy and turn the task into a fun sing-a-long. The distraction helps keep everyone relaxed.

To find musicals you both enjoy, think back to musicals she enjoyed when you were a kid. Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, and West Side Story are musicals she probably knows. You can also try these six newer musicals and experience them together for the first time.


Elderly Care in Brockton MA: Musical Sound Tracks
Elderly Care in Brockton MA: Musical Sound Tracks


#1 – Come From Away

This is based on the true story of Gander, Newfoundland, that housed people that were on board flights that were prohibited from landing in the USA after the events of 9-11. The music is great, but the story and connections of the people will uplift you.


#2 – Dear Evan Hansen

This fictional story seems very true as teenager Evan Hansen spins a tale about being the secret best friend of a peer who commits suicide. As Evan’s lie gets bigger and reaches more and more people, he’s faced with what could happen if the truth is revealed. It’s a poignant story, and the ballads and pop tunes are enjoyable.


#3 – Hamilton

This Tony-winning musical chronicles the life of Alexander Hamilton. There’s a good deal of rap, R&B, and hip-hop music in it that will stick with you and get you moving to the beat.


#4 – Moulin Rouge

You may have seen the movie starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. If you haven’t listened to the Broadway musical’s soundtrack, it’s worth it. Some songs are the same, but there’s also newer music to experience as you sing together.


#5 – Six

This modern take on the tales of King Henry VIII’s wives is amusing and catchy. The pop-style show tunes and ballads have you singing along in little time. Plus, it’s fun to think about what his wives thought of his behavior.


#6 – Wicked

Wicked is a retelling of the two witches (Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba the Wicked Witch) in The Wizard of Oz. The story shows how the Wicked Witch became the way she is.

Is your mom’s personal care a bit much for you to complete on your own? Hire home care aides to help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care tasks. You’ll be able to focus on other chores while a trained caregiver is helping her get her day started. Call a home care agency to learn about prices and availability.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a Elderly Care in Brockton, 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.

Elder Care in Brockton MA: Traveling with Seniors

Traveling with Seniors: What to Pack for a Car Trip

Charlotte’s mother, Louise (age 76), had been talking about visiting her relatives in Montana for some time. Louise had grown up there but had moved to Ohio with her husband a few years after they married. The two of them had driven to Montana several times throughout their lives, taking their children with them. Charlotte had many happy memories of those road trips with her parents. But, now that her dad had passed, her mom hadn’t been able to visit her relatives.

Charlotte decided to surprise her mom with a road trip. Before the trip, she planned her route and packed their bags. Unfortunately, when it came down to the trip, Charlotte discovered she hadn’t taken some of her mom’s special needs into consideration and they were woefully unprepared.


Elder Care in Braintree MA: Traveling with Seniors
Elder Care in Braintree MA: Traveling with Seniors


There’s nothing quite like taking a family road trip. But, when you’re taking an older adult with you, a road trip can be a little more challenging. It requires a little extra preparation and you’ll need to pack some extra items to keep them comfortable and safe. Below are a few items to pack.


Extra Medications

If you’re planning a 7-day trip, you may think you need to take just 7 days-worth of medicine. In truth, you need to pack more. You never know what might happen during the course of the trip. You may end up staying a little longer than planned. Or, they might lose a pill down the sink or misplace a bottle. To avoid losing all their medications, it’s a good idea to portion them out by day and place them in separate containers.


Senior-Friendly Music

When putting together a playlist for the ride, take the senior’s taste in music into consideration. It’s okay to play some music you like but try to include some of their favorites as well. That way you avoid arguing over music or having to ride in silence.


Important Phone Numbers

Be sure to take along contact information for the older adult’s doctor and other medical professionals just in case something happens during the trip. If you should find yourself in the emergency room, it can be helpful for the hospital’s staff to be able to contact the senior’s regular medical providers.


Your Patience

Seniors may need to stop more often to use the bathroom or stretch their legs. And, they may move more slowly on stops. You’ll need a little extra patience to avoid arguments and keep the trip pleasant.


A home care provider can assist your aging relative to pack for a road trip. Home care providers can assist with the laundry to make sure that everything the senior wants to pack is clean. Home care providers can also ensure that the older adult takes enough medication along with them. They can also help the senior to create a list of some of the music they like so you can include them on your playlist.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elder Care in Brockton, 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.