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

Homecare in Fall River MA: Common Home Care Myths

Loss of Independence and Privacy Are Two Common Home Care Myths

What keeps your parents or even your family from signing up for home care services?

If you’re like many families, it’s the fear that independence and privacy get lost when caregivers are helping out. Those common myths shouldn’t keep you from signing up if these services are needed. Here are the facts about home care.


The Realities of Home Care

You’ve likely heard many myths about home care. The caregiver steal from families. They’re bossy and do what they want instead of what your parents need. They’re not trained and don’t undergo any background checks. It’s better for sons and daughters to provide the care their parents require.

The reality is that caregivers do go through background checks and training when you hire a home care agency. If you set out to find a caregiver on your own and save money by hiring a private caregiver, you’ll have to do the background checks on your own. That can be costly and time-consuming. You’re also required to pay for employment taxes and, possibly, the insurance a private caregiver needs.


Hire an agency to find the perfect caregivers for your mom and dad and all worries are eased.

Your mom and dad have someone trained to help them with meals, housework, laundry, and more. They’re not going to become dependent. The goal of a caregiver is to offer support so that independence is maintained while aging at home.

Sons and daughters can make excellent family caregivers for their aging parents. There are also downsides to this. If you’re being asked to care for your parents every day, can you still work? Can you afford to quit your job? If you do quit your job, how will you afford health and dental insurance?

Some family members decide to save money and move in with their parents or move their parents in with them. If that happens, will you have a way to have time alone? Everyone will need time for themselves. If you arrange to have home care aides stopping by, you can take those much-needed breaks.


How Do You Get Started?

How do you get started? First, call a home care agency and talk to a representative. The specialist will ask you questions to start narrowing down the home care services that will help the most. After that, pricing and final arrangements are made.

You arrange home care services on the days and at the times your parents need help. They might want help once a week, once a month, or every day. It’s up to your family to decide the best schedule and talk to the agency to set up care plans.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Homecare in Fall River, 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 Fall River MA: Senior Energy Boost

Does Your Elderly Loved One Need an Energy Boost? Here is What They Should Do.

Many elderly adults lose their energy as they get older. They may feel exhausted all the time. If this is the case for your elderly loved one, you can help them to get an energy boost. There are various natural tips that can help your elderly loved one to get more energy on a regular basis. If you help them to follow these tips, they can start to feel more revitalized and alert daily.


Elder Care in Fall River MA: Senior Energy Boost
Elder Care in Fall River MA: Senior Energy Boost

Exercising the Mind

One of the ways that your elderly loved one can get more energy is by exercising their mind. If your elderly loved one stimulates their mind, they can stay alert. However, that is just one benefit they can get. They can also improve their mental health by stimulating their mind, as well. Exercising the mind can help relieve symptoms of dementia. It can also boost energy, improve concentration, and much more. Start having your elderly loved one’s senior care providers do puzzles, read, and play games with them. All of these things can help to exercise the mind.


Exercising the Body

Your elderly loved one should also exercise their body if they want to get more energy. Just walking around their yard for 20 to 30 minutes can help to boost energy levels. There are a range of other exercises that can help your elderly loved one to feel more awake, too. They can go swimming, jogging, do jumping jacks, and practice yoga. If your elderly loved one does at least a few physical activities each day, they can keep their energy levels stable throughout each day.


No Smoking

Does your elderly loved one currently smoke? If so, this could be causing them to have lower energy levels. Part of the reason for this is because it makes it more difficult for them to breathe. In addition, the chemicals in cigarettes cause many health conditions that lower energy levels. If your elderly loved one wants to have more energy, have them speak with their doctor about ways they can quit smoking. There are products that can help them to ease off cigarettes and eventually quit. There are other products that can help them to quit right away.


Eating More Protein

Your elderly loved one can get more energy if they eat more protein regularly, too. In addition to eating more protein, however, they will need to eat fewer carbs. Carbohydrates can make them feel lazy and tired. There are many ways they can get more protein. Some of the foods they should eat include boiled eggs, quinoa, vegetables, and lean meats.

These are some of the many ways that your elderly loved one can get an energy boost. Pick one of these tips and have them start doing one of them today.

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