Autism Reality

Autism Crisis – Australia


ABC is reporting on an Australian study which indicates that autism is costing Australia [ Population 20,823,333, May 14 07, Australian Bureau of Statistics] up to $7 billion a year; a reflection of a 10 fold increase in rates of Autism and Aspergers. Dr. James Morton of Autism Early Intervention Outcomes Unit says the problem has caught government unawares. Apparently the Australian government is as oblivious to the realities of autism as the Canadian government. Maybe Roy Grinker, Kristina Chew and others can offer some soothing anthropological perspective and some new literary metaphors to assist the Australian families who are struggling to help their autistic children acquire basic language and life skills.

http://tinyurl.com/38l6b

span style=”font-weight:bold;”>Autism costing Aust up to $7b: report

A new report has found the treatment of autism and related conditions such as Asperger syndrome are costing the Australian economy up to $7 billion a year.

It was commissioned by Dr James Morton, one of the founders of the Autism Early Intervention Outcomes Unit.

Dr Morton says the report’s release in Brisbane today has been timed to mark the start of Autism Awareness Week.

“It’s really gone under the radar. It’s exploded in the last 10 years. Some of the studies suggests that the incidence has increased 10-fold in the last decade,” he said.

“I think that is why it’s caught government unawares. It wasn’t anywhere near the problem it is now 10 years ago.”

Dr Morton says the official response to the rising incidence of autism has been too little, too late.

“I hope that this study brings [autism] to the community’s attention and leads to funding for early detection and early intervention, which makes an enormous difference and is very under-funded in this country,” he said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1921975.htm

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May 14, 2007 Posted by | Australia, autism awareness, autism crisis, autism disorder, Autism Early Intervention Outcomes Unit, Autism Society Canada, Dr. James Morton, Kristina Chew, Roy Grinker | 2 Comments

Autism Is A Global Health Crisis – Suzanne Wright

Founder of Autism Speaks, Suzanne Wright, along with Priscilla Natkins and Andy Shih
Gulf Times Newspaper

Suzanne Wright and Autism Speaks are raising autism awareness around the globe. The information presented in the following article is basic and to the point. Autism is not a literary metaphor or a different cultural viewpoint, it is a neurological disorder characterized by a range of very serious deficits. Children with autism can be aided immensely by behavioral interventions. But parents and professionals have to understand this point and act promptly and decisively. Autism awareness, not misleading rhetoric, is critical to helping autistic children whatever their country of residence.


Autism is a global health crisis: expert
Published: Wednesday, 25 April, 2007, 08:43 AM Doha Time

Staff Reporter
AUTISM strikes without any discrimination of ethnicity, class, geography, gender or race, said Autism Speaks’ founder, Suzanne Wright, yesterday during the Second Annual International Forum on Children with Special Needs in the Shafallah Center.
Also speaking on the occasion were Ad Council’s executive vice president and director of client services, Priscilla Natkins and Autism Speaks’s chief science officer, Andy Shih.
Referring to autism as ‘an urgent global health crisis,’ Wright said that this fast growing, serious developmental disorder, has become an epidemic which is found in one of every 166 children in the United States.
“Though the causes are unknown, it can spread worldwide without any discrimination,” she explained.
The session, on the urgency of bringing Autism epidemic awareness through public service advertising, began by screening a documentary entitiled, ‘Autism everyday’.
The daily lives of eight autistic children were screened, along with their parents’ apprehensions. The children, all above three to four years, required constant attention and were seen restless.
The main symptom was ‘stimming’, a repetitive body movement that self-stimulates one or more senses in a regulated manner, some of them, being grinding teeth, jumping on toes, head banging and scratching. The child makes absolutely no eye contact and many of them stopped speaking after a particular age. Simple tasks like dressing, brushing and eating by themselves took hours and a mother agreed to this, saying, “it took me two years to teach my son to put his shirt on”.
There have been instances when a child affected by autism had not slept for two to three weeks.
Researches say that 80% of the time, parents with an autistic child end in a divorce, as they are equally helpless and cannot cope with the emotional, and financial issues.
Some of the measures taken for the care of children diagnosed with autism, are behaviour therapy, music therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy, most of which are done at home.
The parents were apprehensive, as these treatments were expensive – as high as $100 per hour.
Suzanne Wright, who herself has an autistic grandson, Criston, said that grandparents also play an extraordinary role in the care of autistic children. She exhorted that they should provide support to their children to raise the diagnosed child.
Wright said that autism can be diagnosed when children do not exactly meet their milestones, or meet them at an unusually early time, such as sitting up before six months and walking before 10 months.
Wright said that raising awareness was the corner stone of her mission.
Priscilla Natkins spoke about the role of media and and the effective public service campaigns that were raised. Some of the advertisements screened urged the audience to know more about autism, through their website.
The campaigns launched have successfully increased parental knowledge. It was said that the earlier the awareness, the earlier intervention will help. The advertisement council relied on pro bono services from advertising agencies and the media.
The target audience was parents of newborn, and the secondary target being doctors and health care professionals.
Andy Shih, spoke about the research they in this field. He also talked about the importance of scientists all over the world linking and working together to find a cure for this neurological disorder.

http://tinyurl.com/37853z

April 25, 2007 Posted by | autism awarness, autism crisis, autism disorder, autism speaks, Gulf Times, Qatar, Suzanne Wright | Leave a comment

Autism Is NOW a Health Crisis; Soon a Disaster

The attached article by Anne McElroy Dachel should be mandatory reading for public officials charged with responsibility for public health issues in Canada, the United States and elsewhere in the world. Ms Dachel takes the CDC, in particular, to task for its failure to portray the seriousness of autism disorder for so many individual autistic persons and the impending costs to taxpayers in the US of paying for the care and supervision they will require in a few short years. While her support for the mercury-vaccine-autism theory will not be endorsed by all readers, including me, the magnitude of the existing health crisis is beyond serious dispute.

Canada is cursed by the same nonchalant ignorance on the part of our leaders. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, after ordering his troops to vote down a motion to amend the Canada Health Act to provide funding for autism treatment across Canada, then put a budget before Canadians which did not dedicate a single penny to provide funding for autism treatment. Prime Minister Harper was not just heartless toward autistic children and adults with the middle finger salute he gave them; he also demonstrated his own ignorance of a serious health crisis which will soon hit Canadians very very hard financially in providing supervision and care for autistic adults, now numbering 1 in 150.

Autism: “A Serious Public Health Problem”
Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 11:41 am
Opinion: Guest Opinion
Autism: “A Serious Public Health Problem”

By Anne McElroy Dachel

The article about autism, No Know Cause, No Cure by Jennifer Chancellor in the Tulsa World on April 1 got my attention. It wasn’t because we were again told that no one knows for sure why one in every 150 U.S. kids is now autistic, or that experts have no idea how to cure them. That’s pretty much the way autism is covered in the press. What stood out to me was the first part of the statement, “The CDC has called autism a national public health crisis.”

As someone who has read news reports on autism for several years, I’ve yet to see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the term “crisis” when talking about autism.
Maybe I missed it somewhere, but after several days searching through CDC press releases on autism, it just wasn’t there.

The Oprah Show covered autism on April 5. Oprah started the program by saying that the CDC calls autism a “national health threat.” That was the first time I’d seen a term as strong as “health threat” used by the CDC in referring to autism. Oprah said that 67 children a day in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism, making it one every 20 minutes. That seems like a lot more than just a “health threat.”

The CDC is extremely careful when mentioning autism. For instance, in February when announcing the results of a 5 year old study revealing an autism prevalence rate of one in 150 among eight-year olds, the “C” word was never mentioned. “Autism is a serious public health problem which impacts too many children and their families,” said CDC Director Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH. Is “Serious public health problem” as alarmed as the Director is about autism in 2007?

So why is it that autism doesn’t deserve a crisis rating by the CDC? Lots of other diseases and disorders do. They’ve come out in official statements calling HIV/AIDS a “crisis.” The explosion in the rate of diabetes in the U.S. is a “crisis” to the CDC too. The CDC has an official “Bird Flu Crisis Plan” ready for when the avian flu actually affects someone in the U.S. We officially have a “childhood obesity crisis” and an “asthma crisis” according to the CDC.

While I’m not arguing that diseases and disorders like AIDS and diabetes don’t deserve to be called crises, I’m just continually amazed that the CDC doesn’t consider autism in a league with other serious health concerns.

Another term the health care officials are careful not to use in the same breath as autism is the word “epidemic.” Autism may affect more children than pediatric AIDS, juvenile diabetes and childhood cancer COMBINED, but autism is never an epidemic to the CDC. Surprisingly, the CDC refers to each of these other diseases on their own as epidemics.

As the autism numbers exploded from one in 10,000 in the 1970s, to one in 2,500 in the 1980s, to the present one in every 150 children in the U.S., the CDC kept telling us that it just wasn’t happening. When asked why more and more autistic kids are filling our schools, the federal health experts told us that doctors were getting better at recognizing autism. This “better diagnosing” explanation has just been reinforced with the claim that the new rate of one in 150 is because the CDC is getting better at counting.

The official autism website of the CDC makes no reference to either “epidemic” or “crisis.” The tone of the information has all the urgency of the CDC fact sheet on treating head lice. There’s no indication that autism costs the U.S. $90 billion a year and that it’s projected to increase to $200-400 billion annually in ten more years, according to the Autism Society of America. Nor is there anything about the recent conservative estimate that each autistic person in the U.S. will cost the American taxpayers $3.2 million

Under “What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?” on the CDC website, we are told that “people with ASD often have problems with language, communication and social skills. ASD may display a certain set of behaviors, such as resisting change, repeating phrases or actions, not interacting with others in traditional conversation or play, or showing distress for unapparent reasons.”

That weak description doesn’t tell us how seriously affected many children with autism are. It doesn’t include the children with violent behavior who are a danger to themselves and to others, or the child who can’t talk at all and has no fear of dangerous situations and is in need of constant supervision.

And the CDC website fails to note the other health problems like chronic diarrhea, seizures, allergies, and asthma which often accompany autism.

The CDC may have their own reasons for avoiding attention-getting terms like “crisis” and “epidemic.” This is also the agency that runs the vaccine program. As the charge continues to be made that vaccines are directly related to the explosion in the autism rate, the CDC continues to deny it.

On the CDC website, they say, “No one knows exactly what causes Autism Spectrum Disorders.” They cautiously say that “experts believe genetic and environmental factors probably interact in complex ways to contribute to the onset of the disorder,” but they’re quick to tell us, “…neither thimerosal-containing vaccines or MMR vaccine are associated with ASDs.” Such claims “lack supporting evidence and are only theoretical.”

With new rate, the autism advocacy group, SafeMinds published a press release in which SafeMinds president Lyn Redwood, RN stated, “We are truly in the midst of an epidemic.” One of the things she asked for was that the CDC “acknowledge the epidemic increase in autism rates.”

At the same time, National Autism Association President Wendy Fournier in the Providence Journal said, “Autism is a crisis. It’s an epidemic. We’re renewing our call to the CDC to declare that autism is a national emergency.”

That’s highly unlikely. If the CDC won’t call autism a “crisis” or “epidemic,” they sure aren’t going to use “emergency” anywhere near the word autism.

Others however, echo the call to recognize autism as a national health care emergency. F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP wrote Autism 99: A National Emergency which summarized a report on autism in 1999 by the California legislature that showed “a massive and persistent rise in the incidence of this disease.” Dr. Yazbak also cited the exponential increase in autism in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Missouri, and Rhode Island. In other words, the explosion in autism wasn’t just an isolated fluke, it was everywhere.

In Autism 2000: A Tragedy, Dr. Yazbak focused on the 26% annual autism increase in U.S. schools. The next year he wrote, Autism 2001:The Silent Epidemic, in which he gave the stunning figures out of California of 7 or 8 new cases of autism a day in that state. Dr. Yazbak asked why the CDC continued to ignore autism, “One can only imagine the outcry if there was an outbreak of 4,000 cases of any other pediatric illness in the same three month period. The CDC specialists would be clamoring for a cure and seriously looking for the clues to the epidemic.”

In his best selling book, Evidence of Harm, author David Kirby wrote that through the efforts of autism advocate Rick Rollins of the Mind Institute, the California legislature produced the “first-ever comprehensive epidemiological report on the increase of autism cases in California.” Rick broke that down to “one new child every four hours” diagnosed with autism in the state. He added, “Each of those kids would end up costing taxpayers at least two million dollars.” Furthermore, “unlike children with cancer or AIDS, autistic kids don’t die from their disease. These facts don’t seem to get the attention of the CDC and autism is downplayed. Officially calling autism an “emergency,” “epidemic,” or “crisis,” would necessitate taking action.

The clock is ticking however. The generation of autistic children will soon become the generation of autistic adults dependent on the U.S. taxpayers for support and care. The first wave will be aging out in the next few years and the autism epidemic will be evident to everyone. When that happens, it will no longer be just a crisis. It will be a disaster.

Anne McElroy Dachel
amdachel @ msn.com
Member:
A-CHAMP
(Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning)
http://www.a-champ.org
National Autism Association (NAA)
http://www.nationalautismassociation.org

April 9, 2007 Posted by | autism crisis, autism disorder, CDC, Prime Minister Harper | 3 Comments