A surveillance study conducted in the United States identified 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Autism Speaks). While reports show that autism cases are on the rise, the spirits of the athletes living with this condition (along with all other participants) are reaching to unthinkable heights as they compete at the Special Olympics World Games this week.

Seven thousand athletes from all over the world are in Los Angeles, California with the hopes of bringing gold medals back home with them from the World Games. They all have overcome intellectual disabilities from cerebral palsy to Prader-Willi. In the category of growing disorders is Autism spectrum disorder.

According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are characterized by persistent difficulties in social interactions and displays of repetitive behaviors during a child’s early developmental period. In addition, the spectrum of levels of disability varies child to child, from mild to severe.

Courtesy of the National Autism Center and the May Center for Evaluation and Treatment.

To learn more about the indicators used to determine a child’s risk for ASD, Autism: What You Need To Know is a helpful resource to review.

At We-Care.com, we have the privilege to work with causes that are committed to projects that aim to prevent and cure autism. If you’d like to support an organization that works vigorously to beat Autism spectrum disorders, we invite you to check out our partners Autism Speaks, Madison House Autism Foundation and the National Autism Association.

If you have not had a chance to check out the 2015 World Games, we strongly suggest that you do so here or live on ESPN (check you local listing). Congratulations to all of the performances thus far, and best of luck to all of the athletes! We’d like to give a special shout out to We-Care.com’s sponsored athletes Natalia Marquez of Puerto Rico and Chavez Lamy of Trinidad and Tobago. Go Team We-Care, go!

Sources: The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Special Olympics.