Thursday, February 08, 2007

An Alarming New Study

In read several news sources each day and many times I spend free moments searching medical sites for new treatments, therapies, or procedures the might be beneficial to Ben . Most of the time I end up just pocketing the information as something interesting or will perhaps pass it along to some folks who might benefit from it.

Today I came across a story on CNN's website that literally made my jaw drop. This study done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that one in every 150 American children have autism. If that isn't enough to frighten parents there is now evidence that the diagnosis of autism is either growing or has previously been under-reported. The CDC "calculated an average autism rate 6.6 per 1,000. That compares with last year's (2006) estimated rate of 5.5 in 1,000."

The CDC does caution against using the data to establish a national trend because some of the most populous states were not included. However I do see this as something very noteworthy because states like California, Florida, and New York weren't included in the study. I'd be willing to bet that those particular states have much more efficient testing and record-keeping than some of the more rural states used in the study including our own.

The most important issue this study brings into focus is this brilliant quote by Alison Singer who is "spokeswoman for Autism Speaks, the nation's largest organization advocating more services for autistic children."

"This data today shows we're going to need more early intervention services and more therapists, and we're going to need federal and state legislators to stand up for these families."

A few weeks ago during the debating and discussion of The Ashley Treatment I called the disability community "the silent minority." My hope is that studies like this one call attention to the need for more early intervention, more early therapy, and better access to facilities that can help those that face incredible challenges. My gut feeling is that the exceptional minority won't be silent very much longer.

1 comment:

Kyla said...

Wow. 1 out of 150? That seems very high. I didn't realize.