Autism — an overlooked issue?

Our world has addressed many important issues, but Autism Spectrum Disorder is one which is perhaps overlooked. In essence, autism is a developmental condition characterized by a lack of communication and social interaction. People with autism tend to exhibit repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. They often get overwhelmed by social situations because they struggle to understand how others think and feel.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 160 children has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is especially prevalent in Hong Kong; roughly 1 in 27 people in Hong Kong are diagnosed with autism. In other countries, the rates of autism are lower. For example, the autism rate in Brazil is 1 in 368 people, while the autism rate in Portugal is 1 in 1,087 people. However, the lower autism rates in Brazil and Portugal do not necessarily mean that autism is any less prevalent in those countries. The huge difference in autism rates is likely due to the underdiagnosis in certain countries. This means that the global autism rate is very likely to be greater than the reported 1 in 160 children.

The United States has been raising awareness of autism in the past two decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US autism rate back in 2000 was 1 in 150, while the current autism rate in the US is 1 in 54. Whilst awareness for autism has been increasing over recent years, there is still much work that needs to be done for those with autism. A way to help raise awareness is to promote medical knowledge of autism. This will most certainly lead to an increase in diagnosis. Ongoing counselling by psychologists is also crucial to ensure adequate support for those with this developmental condition.

In addition to counselling, music therapy has emerged as another form of non-invasive treatment for autism. There are several benefits of this therapy. Firstly, it provides a nonverbal way of communication, which makes social interactions less intimidating. Secondly, it helps train collaboration skills without the need for physical proximity or eye contact. Thirdly, the treatment can also be fun and entertaining for the recipients. Indeed, the development of music therapy can prove to be pivotal in addressing the increasing autism rate worldwide.

Additional Information for Reference:

  1. “Autism Spectrum Disorders.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 7 Nov. 2019,
  2. Wee, Rolando Y. “Autism Rates Around the World.” WorldAtlas, WorldAtlas, 7 Sept. 2018,

3.“Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Sept. 2020,

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