Childhood Autism Resources in Tarrant County
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Purpose: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent deficits in social communication, social interaction, and restricted patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. In 2014, the prevalence of ASD in the United States was about 1 in 59 children and was found across all racial and socioeconomic groups. Although the genetic causes of ASD remain unknown, risk factors include being male, exposure to specific drugs in utero, having other autistic family members, and being born prematurely. Our purpose was to discover available resources for those with ASD in Tarrant County. Methods: A literature search and review was conducted to determine the resources available specifically in Tarrant County to address the different needs of people with autism. Results: A variety of resources exists in Tarrant County for those diagnosed with ASD. These resources continue to grow in their importance and utilization especially as the rate of ASD continues to rise. The Autism Treatment Center (ATC), Hope Center for Autism, MHMR Tarrant County, and Easterseals are just a few organizations available to children with ASD and their families. The services offered include education, therapy, childcare, behavioral support, and outpatient rehabilitation. Certain eligibility requirements and barriers must also be overcome in order to benefit from these services, including age restrictions, transportation, and health insurance. Conclusion: As the rates of autism continue to rise, new resources are becoming increasingly important to this patient population. Tarrant County has several resources in place, however, there are still significant unmet needs.