Friday, January 8, 2010

Autism's Image Is Changing

If only the media would recognize that autism just doesn't affect children. Adults with autism are out there in the community. And, they need the supports and programs, just like children. Check out this item for San Diego News Network's health blog.

The image of autism is changing.
Autism is no longer depicted by the adorable curly haired toddler sitting quietly in the corner, stacking blocks in perfect order, while his peers engage with each other in a whirlwind of interaction and activity.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) newest numbers released in December reflect one in 110 children have been diagnosed with autism, including one in 70 boys. The figures also represent a startling 57 percent increase in the rate of diagnosis from a four-year study (conducted from 2002 to 2006), and a whopping 600 percent increase in the rate of diagnosis in the past 20 years.
Individuals with autism are growing up. The number of autistic children expected to need extensive adult services by 2023 - more than 380,000 people - is roughly equal to the population of Minneapolis. And, the bill for autistic children entering adulthood over the next 15 years is an estimated $27 billion annually in current, non-inflation-adjusted dollars by the end of that period.
This country urgently needs to focus on adult autism, new models of care, community infusion, real jobs (the unemployment rate is well over 90 percent for this population) and, most certainly, new ways to manage funding. Its time to embrace the challenge.

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