M&L and Autism Awareness: Important Information and Resources to help your Family Member with ASD

 April 10, 2014
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Hello everyone, and welcome back to our blog this week! We hope you have all been enjoying the first few weeks of spring – here at M&L we are definitely enjoying the nicer weather, and are looking forward to some (hopefully) hot summer days.

As our regular readers know, each week the staff of M&L chooses an important topic to write about in our blog. These topics may be related to what is happening in special needs communities across the country, important information related to government benefits, highlights of new services that we are providing, or simply summaries of information and resources that we feel are important enough to share with our community of readers and clients. This week, we have decided to focus on a very important cause, autism awareness, and to launch our very own Autism Awareness Campaign in honor of Autism Awareness Month (April 2nd to April 30th).

As a part of our mini-campaign, the next three blogs will be devoted to increasing autism awareness; we hope to do that by focusing our attention on important current events and issues in the ASD community and by passing on valuable information and resources to families of individuals with ASD. In the coming weeks, we will be discussing the DSM’s new definition of ASD, and the ways in which it can affect your loved one. We will also devote a blog to some incredible new housing options and living programs available for individuals with ASD, and share some important autism related resources.

But for today, however, let’s take a good look at the CDC’s newest autism report, and their startling statistic: 1 in 68 children in the US with ASD.

The CDC’s New Report on Autism – 1 in 68 Children with ASD

A few weeks ago, the CDC released a very startling statistic – according to newly collected data, 1 in 68 children in the United States has been identified with ASD.

This new number caught the attention of media outlets, special needs organizations, and parents around the world, for one simple reason: the dramatic increase from the last statistic released by the CDC in 2012. According to this new report, the prevalence of ASD in American children had increased by 30%, up to 1 in 68 (or 14.7 in 1,000 8 year olds) from the 2012 report of 1 in 88 (or 14.7 per 1,000 8 year olds).

This difference is, to put it mildly, extreme. And, as these new numbers mean that ASD is more than twice as common as it was at the time of the first CDC report in 2007, the dramatic increase is prompting a lot of concern and calls for action from parents and special needs organizations from across the country – and rightfully so. Here at M&L we are staunch advocates for more resources for individuals with all types of disabilities, including ASD. However, we do feel that it is important to point out that, as is the case a lot of the time, the report also contains a lot more information that isn’t receiving as much attention as the headline-worthy “1 in 68 “ statistic. Please read on for some important clarifying info that may put these new numbers in perspective.

What you should know about this report

In addition to the new data, the CDC also published an article on their website titled 10 things to Know About New Autism Data. Most of the facts that we have below have come straight from this article:

– The 1 in 68 statistic is an estimate, based on 8-year old children living in 11 communities. It does not represent the entire population of children in the United States.

– Almost half (45%) of the children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability (IQ greater than 85)

– 20% of the children identified with ASD had documented signs of ASD on their record, but had not been diagnosed by a clinician or educational professional.

– It is not known why the latest numbers are 30% higher than the last report; the CDC states that some of the increase may be attributed to the way children are identified, diagnosed and treated, but exactly how much is unknown.

Here at M&L, we feel that it is of the utmost importance to be in possession of all the facts – we encourage you to research and read more about this new report. Luckily, there is a plethora of information and journalistic coverage available on the Internet. Once you are in possession of all the facts, and have become very well informed on the subject, the question may become: what do I do with all of this information? Well, read on, my friend.

How you should use this information

This information should be used, quite simply, TO PLAN.  If you are a family with a young child living in the United States, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and signs of ASD. The CDC encourages parents and professionals to follow a child’s development and ensure that he or she is reaching the appropriate developmental milestones – a free checklist of developmental milestones can be found here.

If you feel that your child isn’t reaching these milestones, or that he or she is exhibiting signs of ASD, then it is vitally important to contact your doctor as soon as possible.  The most important fact that any parent of a child with ASD should be aware of is the important of early prevention – the earlier you get your child diagnosed, the earlier he or she can access important resources designed to help him or achieve the identified developmental milestones, and on the right path to a healthy future.

Here are some incredible resources on early Intervention:

Autism Speaks Early Intervention
CDC Early Intervention Services
A link to other blogs that M&L has written on ASD
Early Intervention Services in Your State

Would You Like More Information?

If you would like more information, or have any questions regarding your child with ASD and the services that we can provide, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are financial and life planning experts, and can help you with every stage of your special needs journey, from diagnosis and the first crucial steps in special needs financial planning, to transitioning and post secondary planning, right to finding the right independent living and housing option for your child with ASD – we can help! For more specific information on the services that we provide, please take a look at our Services and Workshop Series webpages. Please note that we can present any of the workshops at a venue of your choice – and we do travel!

Again, thank you all so much for joining us today! We hope that our brief discussion of the CDC’s new report helped you to understand the topic a little better, or perhaps provided you with some information you perhaps hadn’t come across yet. Please don’t forget to join us next week as we continue our Autism Awareness campaign for Autism Awareness Month – we will be discussing the DSM’s new definition of autism, and how it can affect your loved on with ASD, as well as revisiting Ron Suskind’s new book, titled Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism.

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

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