Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Definition - Autism is a complex developmental disorder that affects the way a person perceives the world and makes communication and social interaction difficult. There may also be accompanying repetitive behaviors and intense interests. Autism is often referred to as a "spectrum disorder", meaning that its symptoms and characteristics can present themselves in a variety of combinations, ranging from mild to quite severe.
Incidence and Prevalence - What was once viewed as a rare disorder is now recognized as the most common neurological disorder affecting children. Autism Spectrum Disorders are more common than Down syndrome, childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, blindness and deafness. Prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually.
Causes - The exact cause or causes of autism is/are still not known, but research shows that genetic (hereditary) factors are important. It is also evident from research that autism may be associated with a variety of conditions affecting brain development which occur before, during, or very soon after birth.
Diagnosis & Treatment - The earlier a diagnosis of autism is made, the better the chances are of a person receiving appropriate help and support. There is no known cure for ASD, but effective, structured intervention that combines education, support and training can really make a difference to the life of a person with autism, helping to maximize skills and achieve full potential in adulthood.
Bermuda Autism Support & Education (BASE)
BASE is a community based, nonprofit organization that provides autism-related information, referral, advocacy, training, and support to families, professionals, and community members. BASE strives to increase public awareness of autism and help to ensure that individuals on the autism spectrum are given opportunities and resources to achieve their full potential. It was formed in February 2001 by a group of parents seeking more information and education about autism.
With the assistance of a full-time autism consultant, BASE offers the following services:
Assessment for early indicators of autism
Information and referral for autism services in Bermuda
Parent support and training
Home and school consultation
Community education for educators, health professionals, and other interested individuals
Advocacy on behalf of individuals with autism and their families
Information and reference materials on autism