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US Autism & Asperger Association
April 2, 2012

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Syndrome.


Autism - 1 in 32. Is anybody listening?

by Lawrence P. Kaplan, PhD, USAAA founder

glassToday is Autism Awareness Day. The definition of awareness is having or showing realization or knowledge. You may be aware that last week the Centers for Disease Control announced the results of their Prevalence Study. If you did not hear the results, you may have been on vacation or away from any form of media communication. But while the story of the results from the 2008 data found autism rates skyrocketing to 1 in 88 children affected, the real story was being told in Salt Lake City, Utah, headquarters for the US Autism & Asperger Association.

sltribThe headline in the Salt Lake Tribune the morning following the press conference, was "1 in 32". That is the prevalence of autism for boys in Utah. Also, reported was a 1200% increase in girls identified in Utah. 1 in 32 is probably more of an accurate number nationally for boys since many of the states who participated in the prevalence study did not have access to data that should have been accounted for in their states.

As I listened to these statistics, during a briefing at Valley Mental Health's Carmen B. Pingree School for Children with Autism in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 29, 2012, I wasn't surprised. I was angry. I've seen the over-crowded classrooms of children affected by autism during the last twenty years. I have spoken with thousands of parents nationally and worldwide who have been pleading for better services and support in their communities. And these same parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and everyone whose lives have been affected with autism have been asking the same question for years - what will it take to recognize that autism is a national public health emergency.

"I was angry. I've seen the over-crowded classrooms of children affected by autism during the last twenty years."

My wife and I, our children and family members have lived this everyday for the past twenty years. We have heard the same arguments over and over - better diagnosis, better awareness, and expanded criteria in defining autism. The core deficits of autism are communication, social interaction and stereotyped behaviors. They haven't changed. I can recognize these deficits in children, and I am not a even a medical doctor.

"What happens to our kids when they become adults? There aren't any plans for our kids as they enter into adulthood."

Of the many articles written on Friday, March 30, 2012 and subsequent articles since then, there is something missing that is very disturbing to me. What happens to our kids when they become adults? This is a topic that concerns me as my son and thousands of other young adults “age out of” and leave the public school system in the next two years only to go....WHERE? There aren’t any plans for our kids as they enter into adulthood. Hundreds of thousands of families will be affected. Children that have parents working full time, single parents, and no parents. What will happen to our children when we are gone? We have discussed this dilemma for the past seventeen years. And here it is, seventeen years later, and nothing has been done to address this problem.

1 in 32.

In 2009 it was reported by University of California scientists that California’s sevenfold increase in autism could not be explained by changes in doctors’ diagnoses. Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an epidemiology professor at University of California, Davis led the study. “A shift toward younger age at diagnosis and doctors diagnosing milder cases combined doesn’t “get us close” to the 600% to 700% increase in diagnosed cases,” said Dr. Hertz-Picciotto. (Environmental Health News).

"A shift toward younger age at diagnosis and doctors diagnosing milder cases combined doesn't "get us close" to the 600% to 700% increase in diagnosed cases," said Dr. Hertz-Picciotto.

“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism”, said Dr. Hertz-Picciotto.” Was anybody listening in 2009? Dr. Hertz-Picciotto’s study was three years ago and the rates have jumped exponentially. Recent research from Stanford University conclusively shows that environmental triggers account for most cases of autism, not genetic predisposition.

Dr. Bernard Weiss, a professor of environmental medicine and pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center who was not involved in the new research, said the autism rate reported in the study "seems astonishing." He agreed that environmental causes should be getting more attention. (Environmental Health News). Dr. Weiss said “excessive emphasis has been placed on genetics as a cause.”

"The autism rate reported in the study "seems astonishing. Excessive emphasis has been placed on genetics as a cause."
Dr. Bernard Weiss, University of Rochester Medical Center

As I left the press conference, I was trying to comprehend as why many of the guests were smiling. The parents I knew who were there were not smiling. It was not a day to be celebrating.

1 in 32.

Is anybody listening? Awareness - maybe. Action - that is what is needed. PLEASE. Get involved. Your voices matter.

Stay tuned for more serious and troubling news. I will be presenting information regarding the proposed DSM-5 later this month at Utah Valley University and also at the USAAA World 2012 Conference September 6-9 in Denver, Colorado.

To leave comments, go to our Blog.


USAAA 2012 World Conference

templeOver thirty-five of the world leading autism experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Martha Herbert, discuss new treatment regimes and effective therapies in many areas. These topics include medical/biomedical, educational, behavioral and developmental evidence-based interventions. USAAA is introducing a special cooking and nutrition session and also featuring a special educators session on Friday, September 7.

Exhibitors and Sponsors, contact Pat at 1-866-208-0207.

Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Martha Herbert will discuss their new books. There will be a special event with Dr. Grandin that has never been presented at any conference.

SCHEDULE AND PRESENTATIONS - The conference features keynote presentations and three separate breakout sessions on Friday and Saturday (Thursday night and Sunday morning are included in the full conference registration pass), along with a special educators track on Friday with an opportunity for all educators to share what works in their classrooms with others in a special breakout session. Another special track includes medical/biomedical. More breakout sessions include topics on the Continuums of Cognition and Sensory Processing, Asperger's Syndrome, ADD, ADHD, Twice-Exceptional, adult challenges, severe autism, life challenges, jobs, college, cutting edge research, siblings, legal issues, IEP's, preparing for the future, nutrition and wellness, self-advocacy, support services, verbal behavior, technology (apps, etc.), opening up new opportunities, plus much more.

exhibitorsRegistration will be available this week. Sponsors and Exhibitors should contact Pat at 1-866-208-0207 to exhibit or sponsor. Reserve your booth now!

FULL STORY

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