Over 1% of us children have an autism spectrum disorder

Over 1% of us children have an autism spectrum disorder

According to a report published in the journal Pediatrics, 1 in every 91 children aged between 3 and 17 years is estimated to have an autism spectrum disorder in the United States. This is over 50% higher than the current 1 in 150 estimated prevalence.

Lee Grossman, CEO, Autism Society, USA, said "This national study charts a dramatic rise in the prevalence of autism in the United States and we applaud this administration's recognition that autism is an urgent public health priority. But families today are asking: how high must these prevalence rates rise before the nation responds? Significant resources must be directed toward screening and diagnosis, affordable interventions that treat the whole person and comprehensive education plans to foster lifelong skill development so that people with autism will have the ability to work and live independently."

The report was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services National Survey of Children's health. Data was gathered from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and 78,000 parents were telephoned. The study determined that 110 out of every 10,000 respondents reported having a child with an autism spectrum disorder.

The Autism Society said that the increasing numbers have long-term economic costs to the USA, as autism is a chronic (long-term) condition that affects an individual throughout his/her life.

Grossman said "Lifespan services, particularly for adults, are typically inadequate and inappropriate. This new data should be a call to action to the government to improve and increase services and supports first."

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), said "The information in this new report highlights the pressing need for additional services, support and treatments for families affected by autism spectrum disorders. My bill, the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act, will help children and adults with autism gain better access to coordinated services, improve training for professionals treating these disorders, and will relieve the financial burden on the millions of families struggling with this disability."

If the bill is approved it would provide funding for research into effective treatments and interventions, the first demonstration grants on adult services, create and adult prevalence study, and fund family support and information networks.

Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), co-chair of the Congressional Autism Caucus, said "Autism affects millions of American families, and the cost of diagnosis, early intervention, and treatment imposes a heavy burden on most of them. This legislation, the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009, would improve the dissemination of information between autism researchers and service providers, improve training for professionals treating autism spectrum disorders, and mandate that health insurers cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Enactment of this legislation would do a lot to help millions of American families."

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Autism Caucus, said "The increase in the reported prevalence of autism across the nation testifies to the urgency of executing a comprehensive strategy in response to this public health emergency. For its part, Congress must ensure robust funding to support aggressive programs of research, education, and services. Furthermore, Congress needs to enact additional legislation, such as the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009, that will establish the infrastructure and mechanisms for delivering appropriate services across the lifespan to individuals with autism and their families. We must look to maximize the reach and impact of our investments and activities by closely coordinating government efforts with those of national advocacy organizations, such as the Autism Society."

What is autism?

Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person's life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person's communication and social interaction skills. People with autism have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play and/or banter.

"Prevalence of Parent-Reported Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children in the US, 2007"

Michael D. Kogan, PhD, Stephen J. Blumberg, PhD, Laura A. Schieve, PhD, Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, James M. Perrin, MD, Reem M. Ghandour, DrPH, Gopal K. Singh, PhD, Bonnie B. Strickland, PhD, Edwin Trevathan, MD, MPH and Peter C. van Dyck, MD, MPH

Published online October 5, 2009 - PEDIATRICS doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1522

Brain stimulation and autism spectrum disorder, Dr Peter Enticott (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Psychiatry