March 31, 2016  By Lisa Ackerman

The New Autism Prevalence Rate is not a Cause for Celebration

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On March 31, 2016 the CDC issued their new official rate of autism per their latest survey (1.) The rate is 1 in 68 US children has a diagnosis of autism. For this first time in over a decade the rate compared to their 2010 survey results is flat.

It is important to note that this data has always been a survey and has never been a census. This current survey is based on 8 year olds born in 2004 surveyed in 2012. For me, it is hard to process that the past surveys have taken four years to calculate. Further, I have always stated to truly understand the scale and scope of this epidemic affecting children we need a full census as we have called in our proposed Presidential Candidate plan to address autism (2.)

Now back to the number. My interpretation of this news is not a cause for celebration but a call for concern. Here is why:

Autism is still the single largest disability affecting the most children in the US (3.)
A once rare disease effecting 1 to 2 in every 10,000 in the 1970’s has dramatically increased and we need to ask two questions: WHY has autism increased and HOW will our country step up to help those families and individuals affected?
In the past decade serving families living with autism has gotten harder not easier despite raised awareness. The resources available to serve families have not grown to meet the need. Families are struggling to a breaking point and we need to step up to support.
The current annual costs of autism is $237 billion dollars (4.) Studies show this cost will increase to $1 trillion annually. Our current strategy and support systems are not working. As a society we need to act, come up with a plan and help the almost 2 million families living with autism because the current efforts are not working.

No matter how you count prevalence what won’t change is the fact that autism is a devastating disability. Help is desperately needed now. We need to double down to figure out what’s going on that is impacting the lives of so many. We need to up the volume. We can’t wait and continue to watch the statistical trends before we decide to go all in.

You can help move the autism community forward in a positive way. Get involved: http://www.tacanow.org/ways-to-help/autism-action-month/.

Thank you for reading this blog and sharing this information far and wide. It is Autism Action month April and we need all family and friends to take the first steps to help. We need all hands on deck to help.

References:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html
http://tacanowblog.com/2016/01/20/presidential-candidates-what-should-their-autism-plan-include/
http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/latest-autism-statistics-2/
http://tacanowblog.com/2015/07/30/the-annual-cost-of-autism-continues-to-soar/

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