I'mSince the 1970’s, April hosts Autism Awareness Month to highlight the fastest growing epidemics of our time. Just last week, the Center for Disease Control announced a startling statistic, 1 in 68 children are suffering with autism.
Leading autism organizations reaction:
Katie Weisman of SafeMinds: “Broader criteria and awareness cannot account for this magnitude of increase. The federal government continues to spend millions of dollars ineffectively and ‘potentially duplicatively according to a recent GAO report. We need to identify environmental triggers for autism, prevent them, and develop effective treatments.”
“Since 2011, 44 U.S. children with autism have died after wandering away from a safe environment,” stated National Autism Association President Wendy Fournier. “Our federal government must recognize these deaths, and the urgent needs of our most profoundly affected population. They suffer silently in pain from untreated medical issues; they are abused, bullied, and may be at increased risk of suicide. Their deaths and injuries are preventable through an appropriate federal response”
What has three decades of autism awareness done for Oklahomans?
According to the Autism Speaks website, many states are holding insurance companies accountable for medical coverage including appropriate training for school teachers, therapists and parents in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).
ABA therapy has been in practice for decades, widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism and endorsed by a number of states and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General.
Research bears that many children with autism experience significant improvements in learning, reasoning, communication and adaptability when they participate in high-quality, intensive (24-40 hours a week) ABA programs. Many preschoolers who participate in early intensive ABA for two or more years acquire sufficient skills to participate in regular classrooms with little or no additional support.
Children, teens and adults with autism who receive intensive ABA treatment make larger improvements in more skill areas than do children who participate in other interventions.