Thesis: It is believed that the rate of children diagnosed with autism is increasing due to hereditary factors, environmental factors, and a historically new definition of the disorder. I. Heredity plays a major role in the development of autism. II. Environmental factors are believed to help trigger the onset of autism. III. The definition and diagnosis of autism has become broader in recent years.
Purpose: To inform my audience of increasing autism rates and the reasons for the increase.
Formal Outline of Speech
I. Autism is a rather prevalent disease in today’s society, still, most people don’t know much about this unfortunate and devastating disorder.
A. The ASA, Autism Society of America, describes autism as a “complex developmental disability.” Autism keeps the brain from functioning normally and is usually diagnosed by the first three years of life. Every day 60 children in our country are diagnosed as autistic.
II. Autism has no specific cause, making diagnosis a challenge.
A. No medical tests are available to diagnose autism; instead a child is diagnosed after careful and strict observation of their communication, their actions, and their interactions.
B. Signs of having an autism disorder include a lack and delay in communication, a lack of emotional and physical contact, and a lack of desire to make friends.
III. Although these behaviors cannot be cured or outgrown, they can be treated and improved.
IV. Autism is not unique to our country; an article in the Economist from April of 2008 discussed autism in England.
A. In 1990 an average of 40 in every 100,000 British children had autism, compared to the 400 in every 100,000 children today living with the disorder.
B. That is a ten percent increase in the last 18 years, with the rate now one of every 250 children.
V. Rates in the United States appear even higher; Bernadine Healy, a writer for U.S. News & World Report, puts autism rates in America at one in every 150 children.
VI. These rising rates, at home and abroad, prompt researchers to try to uncover what is responsible.
VII. (Thesis) It is believed that the rate of children diagnosed with autism is increasing due to hereditary factors, environmental factors, and a historically new definition of the disorder.
VIII. (Preview) Let’s examine each of these theories of why autism rates are on the rise. Heredity is a good place to start.
I. Heredity plays a major role in the development of autism.
A. Genetics is one of the most obvious and common ideas of why certain children are autistic and others are not.
1. Doctors and researchers believe that some children...