This is the third year in a row the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced new autism rates right before April (1), a month that has been designated as autism awareness month. For years, TACA likes awareness but appreciates ACTION hence why we call this effort #AutismActionApril.
As I have mentioned in previous announcements, if you weren’t worried about autism before, you need to be worried now. Autism now strikes in 1 in 68 children. Back in 1970 this rate was 1 in 10,000.
We have heard the comparisons before: if 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys, 1 in 189 girls) were being kidnapped there would be riots in the streets (thanks Johnathon Shestack for this reference and your work.) Why no response with the alarming increase of autism?
We treasure our children. We do not treasure autism and what it does. Individuals with autism face enormous challenges, some requiring care for life. Alarm bells are ringing, but who is listening?
The annual cost of autism is $137 billion a year (3.) This is a 2012 number that is also in need of an update. Even with those outdated costs, what can’t be measured is the hardship endured by families and individuals living with autism. Those costs are much higher.
I have often compared autism to other epidemics. There is a scene in a movie called “AND THE BAND PLAYED ON” with Matthew Modine that really captures my feelings as a parent. (I get chills every time I watch it.) This scene needs to play out in real life for autism. WHAT DOES THE NUMBER NEED TO BE FOR AUTISM TO COUNT? For action to take place? If you missed it or need a reminder, please check it out:
Autism can also be deadly. Ask the 44 families who have lost a child to autism and wandering deaths since 2011 or to countless other medical issues such as seizures.
We need to rally the community to increase the public’s awareness and support about autism. I dream about achieving the same level of support that other conditions have been able to achieve. We need not only awareness, but action. Ultimately, we need to be smarter about addressing the needs of an epidemic before the costs are more than this society can bear. Let’s not forget about the future of our children. What happens when parents are no longer to here to care for them?
We know what is needed for families. We had hoped that since the inception of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) in 2006, there would be positive change (4.) More than 7 years later, autism rates have increased, services and support have decreased, and we are nowhere further along with answers and support for 1 in 68 children and their families. In my opinion the IACC has failed to provide any solutions for families.
We need to do more. #AutismActionApril is almost here, so let’s take action to make a difference! (5.) Will you help? The 1 in 68 are counting on you.
1) Autism Rate Announcements: https://www.tacanow.org/category/news/
2) Dr. Bob Sears blogs:
https://tacanowblog.com/2013/01/02/top-2012-tacanow-blogs/ and https://tacanowblog.com/2013/03/20/so-autism-is-now-even-more-common-anybody-care-yet/ and https://tacanowblog.com/2014/01/27/so-autism-is-even-more-common-than-last-year-who-cares/
3) Autism costs https://tacanowblog.com/2012/05/31/the-annual-cost-of-autism/
5) Ways to activate this April http://www.tacanow.org/ways-to-help/autism-awareness/