Blog post from Scott Badesch, President/CEO of the Autism Society
March 27, 2014
This afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the prevalence rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), based on surveillance studies of 8 year old children at eleven Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) sites throughout the United States, is now 1 out of every 68 children. This is a 30% increase over the 2012 report.
Certainly over the coming days there will be media coverage and public discussion as to the reason for this increase. Some will argue that we need to do more research into the cause, while many, like myself, will argue that the focus should be on the millions of people living with ASD today who need appropriate services. We must also address the lack of national conscience on how we effectively provide equal opportunity and hope for the best quality of life for each of those individuals.
Studies have shown that outcomes for those with ASD is a “have” and “have-not” issue. Those with financial means have access to needed treatment and support while those without adequate financial resources do not. We must make a national commitment to equalize the availability of quality services within all communities. While many states have enacted laws requiring insurance coverage, Medicaid, the largest insurer of low-income individuals, often does not provide the same level of coverage as these laws provide. While there is current discussion and political will about the ABLE Act, there is little being done to raise the maximum assets allowed under Medicaid. States have waiting lists for services that often result in a delay of needed services for many years. Asset limits and waiting lists are major barriers that individuals with disabilities face every single day
Today, some are calling for a national effort to bring together key stakeholders to determine the best course of action. An essential element of every one of these dialogs (and resulting efforts) must be the voices of those with ASD. Imagine a national effort to examine women’s health that does not include women in the discussion. If we are going to address the needs of those living along the autism spectrum, throughout their lives, then we must be fully inclusive. This means more than just inviting individuals on the spectrum; they should be actively involved, or leading the discussion.
Government alone, certainly does not hold all of the solutions. The private sector, faith-based communities, civil rights groups, local, state and federal leaders and many more have been addressing the needs of those with autism for decades. The discussion at every level must be about equity and opportunity. We must demonstrate success and money spent should result in meaningful, measurable improvements in the lives of those with ASD.
I am very proud to be part of the Autism Society, an organization consisting of individuals who care and want the best for everyone. The Autism Society is fully inclusive and I firmly believe that our nationwide network of affiliates is the best way to advance the well-being of every person living with ASD. I see it happening every day through education and advocacy that increase capacity in local communities. We were all issued a challenge today. A challenge that requires us to act in affective and deliberate ways that make a real difference in the lives of those on the autism spectrum and their loved ones. I couldn’t be more proud of the long-standing national commitment by the Autism Society to provide help and promote opportunity, equity and hope for each person living with autism.
Autism Prevalence Rates Increase According to CDC, Autism Society Responds
Below is the response to today’s news from our national office. The New Mexico Autism Society, wants every family from just diagnosed to those who have been diagnosed for many years to feel like they are apart of a community. A community of acceptance, support and connection. We will continue to do our best to serve and support those affected by autism in New Mexico.
Autism Prevalence Rates Increase According to CDC, Autism Society Responds
Bethesda, MD (March 27, 2014) – Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announce new autism prevalence rates. According to the CDC report, the prevalence rate for autism is now 1 in 68, which is an increase of over 30% from the 2008 CDC report.
“The Autism Society continues to be concerned with the increasing prevalence of autism. In the next few days, many will discuss the reasons behind the new prevalence rates. The Autism Society and our 110 local and state affiliates are ready and willing to assist the growing population, now in the millions, of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We know that a diagnosis doesn’t always mean services will start right away; whether it’s screening, diagnosis, interventions, or services, the earlier we take action, the better,” said Scott Badesch, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America.
“Unfortunately, far too many unnecessary obstacles are placed in the path of many individuals living with ASD, especially adults. For some, supports may entail providing assistance with finding and securing affordable and appropriate housing, or transition support as a young person moves from high school to adult life, including employment. Better services and supports are needed. With the cost of care for a lifetime as high as $3.2 million for one individual with ASD, the challenges in meeting these costs are overwhelming for most families, and the need for equity and increased family services is paramount. As a nation, we must continue to close the gaps in autism services, particularly for minority communities. There must be a national commitment to be more responsive to the daily needs of each person living with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Badesch.
The Autism Society is the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots autism organization. Founded in 1965, the Autism Society helps over a million people each year through a grassroots nationwide network of local and state affiliates. The Autism Society’s core functions work toward ensuring each person with autism is provided with every opportunity to maximize their quality of life. Many obstacles lie in the way of an individual with ASD achieving success. While a majority of adults with autism can and want to work, over 80% in the United States today are denied that opportunity. Many students with ASD do not graduate high school with a degree or credential that position them to obtain meaningful work. While we know that early intervention treatment and support is very effective, many families are denied that opportunity due to financial status, lack of insurance coverage or limited resources in the geographic region in which they reside.
The Autism Society provides the most comprehensive and effective national Contact Center for ASD, where trained professionals are available to help seven days a week from 9 am to 9 pm EST. The Contact Center can be reached at 1-800-3-Autism or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Autism Society or to find your local or state Autism Society, go to www.autism-society.org. You can view this release online at: http://pitch.pe/1mwSZDy
About the Autism Society: The nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, the Autism Society exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people with ASD, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. For more information, visit www.autism-society.org.
How will your school celebrate?
April is autism awareness month and our schools have unique opportunities to educate their community about autism. From students learning how to be friends with someone with autism, to providing inclusive classroom learning, to ensuring every child is receiving a Free and Appropriate Public Education, our schools have a great deal to offer.
Below are some ways to help get you started!
School awareness list
Tips for Being a Friend to Someone With Autism