Autism: An American Epidemic

April 1, 2005 by  
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In 2003, 11,940 children in Texas had autism, and the numbers are increasing yearly. Autism was found in one out of 291 children in 2003, according to Is what once was a rare disorder now becoming an epidemic? Autism, a complex developmental disability diagnosed before the age of 3 in most children, is compared to dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. It is more ubiquitous in boys than girls and impacts the normal development of the brain, such as social interactions.

With Americans becoming more aware of this disorder, there has been an increase in organizations offering support and treatment to families across America.

Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT), a nonprofit organization of parents and professionals helping families with children who have been diagnosed with autism, offers support groups for families to communicate different issues and treatment options.

Founded in the Sacramento area in 1993, FEAT now has more than 20 chapters. FEAT-Houston was established in 1995 by six families.

“FEAT’s mission is to serve the community in providing that needed support through networking opportunities, informational meetings and the encouragement of professional growth in the field,” according to their website. For more information about autism including how to become a part of FEAT, visit online at

Other Houston organizations that offer support groups include Greater Houston Chapter of the Autism Society of America and Pervasive Developmental Disabilities/Interactional Disorders Association (PDD/IDA). H

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