Last year at this time I had written, “As many of you are aware, autism occurs in 1 in every 110 births in the United States, and for boys, the rate is closer to 1 in 70.” As of today March 30, 2012, almost one year later the CDC as updated their most recent numbers on Autism. According to the CDC:
CDC estimates 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000) has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
• This marks a 23% increase since our last report in 2009. And, a 78% increase since our first report in 2007. Some of the increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their local communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors in unknown.
• The number of children identified with ASDs varied widely across the 14 ADDM Network sites, from 1 in 47 (21.2 per 1,000) to 1 in 210 (4.8 per 1,000).
• ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).
• The largest increases over time were among Hispanic children (110%) and black children (91%). We suspect that some of this increase is due to greater awareness and better identification among these groups. However, this finding explains only part of the increase over time, as more children are being identified in all groups.
• There were increases over time among children without intellectual disability (those having IQ scores above 70), although there were also increases in the estimated prevalence of ASDs at all levels of intellectual ability.
• More children are being diagnosed at earlier ages—a growing number of them by age 3. Still, most children are not diagnosed until after they reach age 4, even though early identification and intervention can help a child access services and learn new skills. This is why CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program is essential. Through this program, CDC provides free tools to help parents track their child’s development and free resources for doctors and educators. CDC is also working with states and communities to improve early identification.
• CDC also provided leadership in establishing Healthy People 2020 objectives and supporting the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that all children be screened by age 2, because early screening and diagnosis improve access to services during a child’s most critical developmental period.
According to the Autism Society, the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to 5 million, so the U.S. is facing $90 billion dollars in annual costs for autism. The costs are due to research, insurance, housing, transportation, employment as well as therapeutic services and caregiver costs. In order to help families who face a lifetime trying to care for their child, our country recognizes April as Autism Awareness Month. It’s a time to bring awareness and educate the public about autism. It’s also a time for families and organizations to fund raise so they can continue to receive much needed help and support for their child.
There are many organizations all over the country that are holding fundraisers for their local community. For those of you in the Los Angeles area, Special Education Advisor.com will have a booth at two events. The first is Saturday, April 21, 2012 for the Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This is the 10th annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks and I am proud to be friends with the event coordinator, Pam Eisenberg. Our Children have grown up together since preschool and Pam sure knows how to put together a Walk!!!.
The next event we will be at is on May 6th, 2012 for the Help Group’s Special Needs Resource Fair. We attended this event last year and it is marvelous. These are just 2 examples of what is going on in the Los Angeles area. If you are attending either one of these events, please stop by and say hello…we’d love to meet you!!!!
I hope many of you will be participating in your local autism fundraisers this month. For most of these organizations, it’s their main fundraiser for the year. Please do your best to help in any small way, whether you are raising money or just volunteering your time, every little bit helps!! If you would like to post your autism event, please feel free to do so below in the comment section. Let’s get the word out to as many people across the country as possible and help raise Autism Awareness!!!!