An Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is typically diagnosed in childhood.
- It affects the brain development of children, and although signs are discernible at quite a young age (as early as 10 months of age), ASD can be diagnosed at about the time that one would expect speech to develop (around 16 to 24 months of age).
- Difficulty in developing both communication and social skills are accompanied by restrictive or repetitive behaviours (such as lining up objects, hand flapping or not playing functionally with toys).1
- Presence of an intellectual disability, communication disorder, epilepsy or other genetic disorder is present in approximately 70% of people with ASD.
- There is not one known cause; there are many factors that are thought to contribute to ASD: most probably a combination of genetic and environmental factors that lead to abnormal brain development.
An Intellectual Disability (ID), it is a disorder with onset during the developmental period that includes both intellectual and adaptive functioning deficits in conceptual, social, and practical domains. IDs are characterized by:
- Deficits in intellectual functions, such as reasoning, problem-solving, planning, abstract thinking, judgment, academic learning and learning from experience, and practical understanding confirmed by both clinical assessment and individualized, standardized intelligence testing.
- Deficits in adaptive functioning that result in failure to meet developmental and sociocultural standards for personal independence and social responsibility. Without ongoing support, the adaptive deficits limit functioning in one or more activities of daily life, such as communication, social participation, and independent living; across multiple environments, such as home, school, work, and recreation.
The most current and conservative statistics indicate that 1 in 66 children will receive an ASD diagnosis.2 An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with ASD in North America.
1 in 100 individuals are diagnosed with an intellectual disability in North America.1
In Quebec, approximately 150,000 individuals have an ASD and/or an ID, 54,000 have ASDs only, 74,000 has IDs only and 22,000 have both.1
ASD is 7 times more prevalent in children than diabetes, 8 times more prevalent than cerebral palsy, and 41 times more prevalent than cystic fibrosis.1
The trend appears to be growing in Quebec, with the rate of ASDs increasing at 26% per year since 2001.3,4
- Depending on the severity of ASD, recent estimates place the costs between $25,000 and $158,000 per year per affected individuals.
- This is the equivalent of $5.5 million over the lifespan for the highest support needs individuals.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years -- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States,
2010 Surveillance Summaries, March 28, 2014 / 63(SS02);1-21.
3 Noiseux, M. (2008). Portrait épidémiologique des TED chez les enfants du Québec. L’Express. Le Fédération québécoise de l’autisme. [www.autisme.qc.ca/TED/les-ted-en-chiffres/portrait-epidemiologiquedes-
4 http://extranet.santemonteregie.qc.ca/depot/document/2380/N3-SUR-DOCREF Faits-saillants-TED-40-pages.pdf
5 White, R. (2013). The Sinneave Family Foundation / The Ability HubMandate. Posted on-line. http://theabilityhub.org. June 3rd, 2013.
- Wait lists for publically funded services are prohibitively long.
- There are an estimated 1000 children (aged 0-6) waiting for intensive behavioural intervention programs in the province of Quebec - over 400 on the island of Montreal.
- Most children reach the age of six while still on waitlists, unfortunately “timing out”, rendering them ineligible to receive the recommended 20 hours of intervention per week.
- Our programs serve to fill this void in part, by offering best practice, not-for-profit, subsidized, early intensive behavioural intervention to children who would otherwise remain on long wait lists, potentially never receiving public intervention services.
The Miriam Foundation was founded in 1973 by a group of dedicated individuals who wanted to raise funds for the CRDITED Miriam, a residence for children with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities.
News articles, television, radio and other media have all documented that autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities are on the rise in Canada, with the latest epidemiological studies indicating that its rate has increased to one in every 68 children now being diagnosed.
Although these numbers are alarming, and we know that children living with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities respond best to treatment when it begins at a very young age, the fact is that there are extremely long wait times for individuals to be diagnosed, assessed and serviced in the public system. In a time when resources for such essential programs are scarce, the Miriam Foundation with the support of its donors can help individuals and their families by providing them with the essential tools for diagnosis, assessment and early intervention services through the Gold Centre.
Another hard fact is that the clients we serve are often in need of our care and services for their lifetime. For individuals with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities, support begins in early childhood and ends only upon the end of their life. Without assistance, their families are left alone with a lifelong challenge. By donating to the Miriam Foundation, you are helping us to meet our commitment to support our clients and their loved ones in their quest to lead a fulfilling and productive life.