- OCCC Pioneer - http://pioneer.occc.edu -

Autism diagnoses increasingly common, speaker says

An increasing number of children are being diagnosed with autism, said Lorrie Servati of Autism Oklahoma, a group devoted to getting the word out about the risks of autism. Servati spoke to OCCC students in April for Autism Awareness Day.

“A 2010 statistic says that one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism,” she said. When her son Nathan was diagnosed in 2008, 1 in 88 children were diagnosed with autism.

Servati is also a student at OCCC, working on getting her special education certificate so she can teach students with special needs.

She said the newest study, which only has results up to 2010, says that one in 42 boys are diagnosed with autism.

Autism, now known as autism spectrum disorder, is a disorder where someone can be either really high functioning but still struggle with everyday things, or be low to moderate functioning and possibly be really good at one certain thing and have a hard time with everything else.

Servati also has two other sons, who are neuro-typical or “normal.”

Autism is very closely related to the disease Asperger’s, Servati said. The difference is that people with Asperger’s tend to be more high functioning, while people with autism can range from high functioning to low or moderate functioning.

Servati said she has worked as a substitute teacher for three years.

“I love spreading awareness.”

She and the people who work with children with autism have found that no two are alike. They all have different traits and abilities just like other groups of people.

For more information, contact Servati at Lorrie@AustismOklahoma.org.