The count is up — more autism services are necessary

Data released from the CDC today indicates that as many as one in 88 children who were 8 years old in 2008 had an autism spectrum diagnosis. When the prevalence of autism goes up like this, the question most people ask is … “why?”

The question Easter Seals asks is: “How can we build capacity to effectively serve this increasing number of people living with autism?” Our focus has always been on services and supports. While many other organizations are researching the etiology of autism, Easter Seals continues to work hard to promote effective services and supports so that individuals with autism can achieve the best outcomes in life.

Another component of the data is the age of diagnosis. This data reports that the median age of diagnosis is 48 months for Autistic Disorder, 53 months for ASD/PDD and 75 months for Asperger Disorder. Given that autism can be accurately identified at 24 months, we have a lot of work to do in the area of early identification. Easter Seals is championing early identification and treatment with our Make the First Five Count campaign. If children aren’t diagnosed early I fear that they are not getting the treatment that affords them the greatest opportunity for success. We simply MUST improve our efforts in early identification.


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