Each year, children are diagnosed with autism, which is a complex developmental disability characterized by impairment in social interaction and language accompanied by social withdrawal and repetitive hyper-focused behaviors. Boys are four and a half times more likely than girls to have autism. The disorder appears to have increased tenfold over the last 15 years. Although both genetic and environmental factors are believed to contribute to the development of autism, no firm causal evidence exists. Furthermore, current estimates are that autism afffects 1 in 68 children in the United States (1 in 65 in Arkansas) with boys being affected at a rate of 1 in 42.
The Arkansas Autism Alliance (AAA) is a unique multidisciplinary group that tackles the many different behavioural, medical, social, and educational challenges that children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder experience. This group is aimed at creating a collaborative and integrated approach to understanding the causal complexities associated with an ASD, treatment interventions to promote symptomatic recovery through targeted medical interventions that address biological abnormalitites seen in persons affected by an ASD and dissemination of what is learned treating these disorders to the medical community at large. The AAA has developed a mission to create an autism center of excellence to not only better serve the state of Arkansas, but to also be a model of excellence in translating research findings into meaningful clinical care for families of loved ones affected by an ASD for not only the state of Arkansas, but also facilities across the world to model their management of these children and how to promote hope and healing to those that are afflicted.