Autism Canada Foundation

Autism Canada Foundation

March 30, 2012 06:00 ET

US Study Shows Average Autism Prevalence Up 23% From 2009

BOTHWELL, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 30, 2012) - Just in time for World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, a study released yesterday from the United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) indicates autism now affects an alarming one in 88 children, (one in 54 boys). This is a sharp jump from the previous numbers released in late 2009 and frighteningly distant rate from one in 10,000 cases seen in the 1980s.

The study conducted by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network office of the CDC, looked at eight-year-old children born in 2000. A previous study released by ADDM in 2009 showed autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affected one in 110 children.

According to a CDC press release issued today, "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.

Autism Canada calls for swift government action, as Canadians are facing the same challenges, and an immediate focus on the following areas is critical:

Prevention:

  • Genetics alone cannot explain the rise in autism. Proper study into environmental cofactors should be a top priority among our government and researchers.

Treatment:

  • Children with autism have underlying medical conditions that often go missed, dismissed or misunderstood. These conditions deserve the full attention of our government health agencies and medical research community. A recently published review of the world's medical literature strongly implicates biochemical abnormalities including oxidative stress, immune dysregulation or inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and toxic exposures.

  • Physicians should be sure and listen to each caregiver's account of any medical issues their child with autism may have and not presume it to be behavioural.

  • Treatment, services and therapies should be available to all individuals with autism.

  • Studies on children that significantly progressed or completely lost a classic autism diagnosis should be conducted to uncover biological underpinnings.

  • Clinical studies on promising treatments are necessary.

Support:

  • Wandering-related deaths remain on the rise among children diagnosed with autism. A wandering prevention protocol should be in the hands of paediatricians to increase awareness & education.

  • School systems are overwhelmed by increased autism rates. Our community is in critical need of additional and properly trained special education personnel.

  • Families are often unable to pay for basic speech and occupational therapies. Government aide is needed for these struggling families.

  • We will soon be faced with a disproportionate number of diagnosed adults in need of housing, job assistance, and lifetime care. Preparation should begin immediately and resources allocated accordingly.

  • A National Autism Strategy is long overdue.

Autism is a public health emergency and governments must work together and react immediately. Autism Canada is a member of the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and has been advocating with a unified voice for a National Autism Strategy for five years. Please visit www.autismcanada.org and www.ASDalliance.org to learn more. Please consider joining CASDA.

Please consider joining Autism Canada's team or make a donation to Change Lives.

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