Sharecare Top 5: What You Need to Know About Autism

Autism rates are on the rise. That’s partly because doctors are getting better at diagnosing the disorder, but there’s also evidence that more children these days have the condition, which stems from a problem with the way the brain develops.  Fortunately, research is shedding light on how best to help people with autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) communicate, cope with their symptoms and get more comfortable with social interaction. Here are five ways to gain insight into autism and ASD.

1. Learn about Treatment that Works: There are many treatments for ASD, but only a few are backed up by research. In this video, psychologist Ronald Leaf explains why treatment boils down to an intensive form of teaching.

2. Connect With People Making a Difference: Sharecare’s Top 10 Social HealthMakers, Autism, are parents of children with autism or ASD, bloggers, activists and reporters. Their blogs and articles offer tips, important information and fresh perspectives.

3. Visit the Sharecare Autism Center: Find out what you need to know about symptoms, treatment and caring for someone with the condition in the Sharecare Autism Center. And because information is more powerful when you can bounce it off someone who’s been there, you can join an autism community support group through Sharecare’s sister site DailyStrength.

4. Get a Dose of Realism: There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation floating around about autism and ASD, and some of it is dangerous. This quiz can help you tell fact from fiction.

5. Understand the Age Effect: Did you know that 20 to 30% of the increase in autism and mental disorders in children can be attributed to the age of the father? In this video, Sharecare expert Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer for Cleveland Clinic, explains what older men can do to reduce the risk that their baby will develop autism or ASD.