ST. PAUL — This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced that in our country, autism now affects 1 child in 88.
For boys, the rate is 1 in 54. Since 2009 autism has increased by 23 percent in the U.S.
“This is a national emergency,” said AACMN member Wayne Rohde. “and the state of Minnesota needs to start addressing the impending avalanche of autistic adults who will be needing medical care, residential housing, all paid by the taxpayers. The most cost effective action the state of Minnesota can do is pass comprehensive insurance coverage for the medically necessary treatments and therapies.”
Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disability that impairs one’s ability to think, speak and socialize. Many children on the autism spectrum have comorbid medical conditions such as seizures, digestive problems and allergies. Increasingly research is showing that environmental factors play a causal role in autism etiology.
Autism advocacy groups such as the National Autism Association again are calling for swift government action, including the declaration of the autism epidemic as a national health crisis and immediate full funding for prevention, treatment and support.
“One thing the data tells us with certainty – there are many children and families who need help,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children.”
“Autism is now officially becoming an epidemic in the United States. We are dealing with a national emergency that needs a national plan,” said Mark Roithmayr, president of the group Autism Speaks.
Lisa Ackerman from TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) urges parents to introduce their families to their legislators and educate them on autism issues in face-to-face meetings. Ackerman also recommends writing letters describing how families are struggling with stressful, complicated issues such as therapy, education, housing, health care and insurance, employment and life skills training.
The Autism Advocacy Coalition of Minnesota is a grassroots collaboration of concerned parents and organizations dedicated to expanding autism awareness, promoting activities and events statewide, and advocating for positive legislative change in the state of Minnesota.