Being a mother of an autistic child, I was anxiously waiting for the CDC reports to be released about the statistics of autism in the USA. To be honest I expected high numbers, but when I read the statistics I was shocked by such an increase. These numbers are staggering, and whats more frightening that these children are growing up very fast, and nothing has been established to take care of such numbers of adults with autism. As far as I am concerned, autism is a serious health crisis that needs to be addressed immediately.
Now, I am not trying to be pessimistic here, I have faith and hope that many children will be mainstreamed and they will be self-sufficient in a future, they will not need special housing after their parents/caretakers are no longer able to care for them. But let’s be realistic, do we have enough treatment facilities and special education classrooms in place now? No, we do not have them, and if we have some, not everyone is able to afford thousands and thousands of dollars for special schools and treatment facilities. Not to mention the mounting medical bills that these kids can occur.
1 out of 88 children in the USA are diagnosed with autism, and 1 out of 54 boys are diagnosed with autism. Reading these numbers what do you feel, what is going through your mind? These numbers are scary, and we still don’t have the answer. I do not have any statistics in any other countries, but trust me, this is not just the USA problem, this is a global concern.
We can not follow the ostrich politics anymore, when you put your head in a sand and say “out of sight out of mind”, this is a real problem for all of us, and we have to take care of it not just in our countries, but worldwide. We need to push our governments to spend more time and resources to find the cause, and eliminate that source to get our kids back. These children are supposed to be our future, and If you ask me right now,I see the future a bit gloomy at this point not just for me, but for the entire world.
I have to agree with some who says that diagnosis got much better over the years, and that certainly contribute toward the increased numbers, but that is not entirely the case. Even if we contribute 50 % of the increase to a better diagnosis, we still have the other half to wonder about what could that be.
I did not see so many kids who have so much difficulties, and problems going around when I was growing up, or in my young adult years. These numbers had jumped significantly, and very noticeably. There are many places I’ve been, and I can point out autistic children more frequently than I like to.
These numbers are alarming not just because we do not have appropriate facilities for these individuals, but we must think about their parents/caretakers as well. Being parent of an autistic child is a 24/7 job. It is not easy to find a doctor who is always on a same page as you are.( I was fortunate to have Dr. Munoz at Kidswille Pediatric. She is a most amazing person I have ever met.) Also, a parent wants to provide the right environment for the child to learn and advance. That cost money, lots of money, and honestly not many public schools can provide adequate learning experiences for these kids. So the next best solution is private school.
Also, public schools have some policies that many of their workers can abuse. I am talking about restraint and seclusion. Even kindergarten and preschool aged children being tied to a chair, or put in windowless rooms as a consequence of their behavioral. Many public school special education teachers do not have autism training, which would help them to understand and teach ASD kids better.
Getting therapy for your child can be challenging too. Find a facility that work with your schedule, therapist who is working toward the same goal as you the parent. Again, I was lucky to have the Therapy Place working with Amin.This place was not just an ordinary facility where Amin can get therapy, that was a source of resources, love and lots of advances for my son and me.
Private schools can be very expensive, even if Insurance pays for ABA it may not cover all the tuition. Again I was fortunate to have Intervention Unlimited working with Amin with their great teachers, and compassionate care.
Resp care is available sometimes, but not as often as the caretaker might need it. I never had resp care with Amin. Many families break apart under the heavy responsibilities, and that leaves one parent/caretaker taking the heavier load most of the time.
When one reads statistics like this by CDC, they need to see beyond the numbers. We all need to look at all aspects of taking care of an autistic child to make them more self-sufficient as possible. We need to see that they get the best care from the very early age, so they may have the best possible outcome. As of now, April 2012, we have very little established for the present and the future for these kids and their parents.
This statistic came out in a right time, it is autism awareness month. Everyone is writing about it, contemplating the cause, and the future. I hope in my heart, that the constant reminders in this month and months to come, will make the Governments take some serious steps toward some sort of resolution in this pressing matter.
Action needs to be taken immediately, you might not be affected by autism in any ways, but looking at these numbers you will be sooner than later, in some forms. So I ask you all out there to please contact your local governmental agencies and demand immediate steps to be taken for present and future plans, and resolutions.