Man with Autism Beats Mother: We Can Not Remain Silent
BREAKING NEWS: Dodd's Draft Falls Short of Necessary Actions to Address The Autism Epidemic

State Legislatures: “Overwhelmed by Autism”

Danger_ahead By Anne Dachel

While I’m not an expert on economics or politics, I’m getting a pretty clear idea of what the future will be like for autism in America.  Consider that no U.S. health official has expressed alarm over the fact that one percent of our children have an ASD diagnosis.  They have never used the word CRISIS when speaking about autism.  And most frightening of all is the fact that no one makes any projections about what it’ll be like in this country when one percent of young adults also have some degree of autism. 

We hear calls for awareness, acceptance, and early intervention when it comes to autism but there’s never a universal demand to find out what’s happening to hundreds of thousands of our children.  Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have spent years telling the public that it’s normal and acceptable to have a child suddenly lose learned skills around age two and regress into autism.   They can’t tell us why this happens and most often they speak of autism as a MYSTERY.  Officials are unashamed when they continually announce: THE CAUSE OF AUTISM IS UNKNOWN, while ignoring peer-reviewed studies which report important associations.

Those in charge of health care seem determined to downplay any real concern over autism.  The rate in the last few years went from one in 500 in the year 2000, followed rapidly by one in 166 in 2004, and one in 150 in 2007 and finally one in 110 two years later.  (One in 110 isn’t exactly the “current” number since it’s based on studies of eight years olds in 2006.)   Incredibly, during the successive increases, experts continued to take credit for the ever-expanding number of kids with autism.  The often-repeated phrase, “better diagnosing” was intended to convince us that doctors were finally recognizing an age-old condition.  Plus, more kids are called autistic today because the definition of autism was expanded to take in less severe forms of the disorder.  Unfortunately, while officials were giving doctors all the credit, no one wanted to prove this theory by finding a comparable autistic population among adults—people who were misdiagnosed in the past—but who clearly show the symptoms of autism we see in our children, especially the undeniable signs of classic autism.  

With the last leap from  one in 150 children to one in 110 as announced in December 2009, even the CDC had to acknowledge that something new is happening to a growing number of kids.  Yes, officials now admit, autism is on the increase—but they don’t know how much of the increase is real and how much continues be better doctoring.  And no one is moving mountains to find the answer either.  Millions of dollars are still going into the search for the genes that cause kids to suddenly stop talking, making eye contact, and end up with bowel disease and seizures as well as autism.

I can’t see this changing anytime soon.  I fully expect that if someone found the rate was now one in every 75 children in the U.S., the head of the CDC would quickly reassure the public that it was still not a crisis.  If it were, it would naturally follow that officials would have to know something about the cause, prevention, and about the possibility of a cure for autism.  By pretending that they’re looking into autism, the public just has to wait and see what they discover.

The game of covering up the real impact of autism is only going to work for a little while longer.  The numbers are simply too great and the cost too horrific.  And with the ineptitude of federal health officials in their dealing with autism, it’s clear that the burden of this disaster will fall on the state governments.  

I recently found an article entitled, "Overwhelmed by Autism" by Jennifer B. Saunders in a publication by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The NCSL describes itself as “a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories.”   Their focus is on “the most pressing state issues.”  In this piece, the first thing we were told was that “a dramatic increase in diagnoses has lawmakers debating the state’s role.”   The main issue was the call for state legislatures to mandate insurance coverage for children with autism.  

There were a number of scary comments:
“Autism now is more common than juvenile diabetes and childhood cancer.”

“Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from 2006 estimating that one in 110 children in the United States have autism, or about 730,000 children.”  

“This dramatic rise has caused researchers at the Centers for Disease Control to elevate autism to an urgent public health concern.”

“It’s not clear how much is a result of heightened awareness and better diagnoses and how much is a true increase.”

“A Harvard School of Public Health study estimates it costs $3.2 million to care for an autistic person over a lifetime.”

“Families may spend more than $67,000 a year to cover direct medical and nonmedical expenses.”

We heard from people on both sides of the insurance mandate issue.  Some expressed real concern over what autism is doing to families.

NY State Senator Charles Fuschillo: ‘Families are literally going broke because their insurance companies won’t cover autism treatments.’

‘As the numbers of children with autism climb, more people will need help.  We need to do whatever we can to make their lives better.’

LA State Representative Patrick Williams: ‘It’s important to understand the emotional, physical, and financial strain that autism puts on a family.’

‘We need resources in place now, not 10 years from now.  Our medical community, educational community and local-state-federal governments need to understand the effect this is having on our community.  We have to work together to combat this disorder.’

MI State Representative Kathy Angerer ‘With treatment, 47 percent [of children with autism] will recover typical function and another 40 percent will achieve significant improvement.  Without early diagnosis and treatment, the average cost to the state over the life of a child with autism is more than $2 million.’

The states do feel something must be done.  “Between 2006 and 2007, states passed nearly 50 bills….The more than 60 autism-related bills enacted this year range from increasing awareness to appropriating funds for services.  This year, eight states passed laws to require insurance companies to cover diagnosis and treatment.”  

The federal government may not want to acknowledge that autism is a real life crisis, but the states know it is and that it’s going to get worse.    “The cost of providing autism services can be significant.  Last year, the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission estimated that more than 11,000 people with autism received assistance—including services in schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Medicaid waivers and vocational rehabilitation programs—at a cost of more than $84 million.”  Per pupil cost for schools is on average $12,000 MORE PER STUDENT PER YEAR.

The question was raised, do we pay now and increase an individual’s chances of leading a productive life or will we have to deal with the price of total support and care later on?  And we were told, “Ultimately, lawmakers must decide how much responsibility state government has to pay for the care for people with autism and how much lies with families, schools, health insurance providers and others.”

In the end, I was left with a sinking feeling as I read through this NCSL story.  How long are we going to just accept autism?  The number of disabled kids is jaw-dropping.  We know that each one of them is going to cost the taxpayers millions, yet legislators are not demanding answers.  

I would ask, IF AUTISM HAS ALWAYS BEEN AROUND, ALBEIT MISDIAGNOSED, WHAT DID WE DO WITH THESE KIDS IN THE PAST?  Why are there suddenly so many disabled kids who cost us so much?  And if one percent of kids have always had these special needs and nothing was done for them, then our record of helping disabled children is a national disgrace.  

MI Representative Angerer has been in the news lately calling for insurance coverage for children with autism.  In a related article (HERE) she wrote, “Autism affects one in 110 children, and one in 70 boys.  When I began serving in the Legislature five years ago, approximately 10,000 children in Michigan had autism.  Today, The Michigan Department of Education estimates that autism affects more than 15,000 children.”  In the NCSL piece Angerer was quoted saying, ’Regardless of the cause’ [of the increase in cases,] it is imperative that states take immediate action to ensure that families affected by autism can get the help they need.’

‘Regardless of the cause.’  

So we shouldn’t care what’s causing it?  It’s hard to imagine a similar situation.  How about this: What if the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt would have gone before the Congress and declared that regardless of who is responsible for the attack, our main job is to treat the wounded.

It’s almost laughable to say that, yet it’s exactly what we’re doing with autism.  When is someone going to declare war on an enemy that has claimed almost a million child victims in this country and shows no signs of retreating?  

The NCSL ended  with a section on “Vaccine Safety and Autism” in which we were reminded that while some parents may think vaccines can cause autism, they’re wrong.  In several paragraphs we’re told about the IOM Report of 2004, Andrew Wakefield’s “misconduct,” the removal of thimerosal (which is still in most influenza vaccines, now recommended for all pregnant women and infants over six months), and how the CDC and the FDA “continue to monitor any reported problems to ensure the highest standard of safety” for vaccines.

In other words, officials have no idea what causes autism, but they’re sure it’s not a result of their ever-expanding vaccination program. .  

I’m fully prepared that 10 years from now when the rate is at one in 25, U.S. health officials still won’t know or care what the cause of autism is.  I wonder if by then the state governments will be more interested in stopping the epidemic.  Or will they be too busy trying to come up with the plans and resources so that hundreds of thousands of adults with autism aren’t in the streets with nowhere to go?


Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.


Michael B Schachter MD, CNS

As a rebellious physician and psychiatrist, I am simply struck by how the human mind is capable of denying reality: how otherwise intelligent individuals can believe fairy tales when they are uttered by those in authority. I am reminded of the story of the emperor having no clothes and the wizard in the Wizard of Oz being exposed. The states are worried about the autism epidemic and what they can do about it without the faintest notion that they are largely responsible for it by demanding that children are vaccinated in order to attend school.

Anyone who has read the books "Evidence of Harm", "The Age of Autism" and "Callous Disregard" and has become even somewhat familiar with this and other similar websites, KNOWS that the current vaccine schedule has played a major role in the epidemic of autism, despite the incessant denials by the CDC and other federal, state and local agencies (who are lobbied and paid off by the pharmaceutical industry), the pharmaceutical industry (who benefits from no liability and the mandating of vaccines), conventional medicine (which is largely financed and controlled by the pharmaceutical industry) and the media (which is also largely controlled and financed by the pharmaceutical industry).

Let's face reality!!! We cannot hope to reduce the incidence of autism until there is a major overhaul of the vaccine program (and mercury, which is certainly a major problem, is not the only problem related to vaccines; the MMR contains no mercury and yet seems to be a major trigger for the development of autism in many autistic kids).

I congratulate Anne for her excellent article summarizing the worries of the states, as well as her underlining the absurdity of their positions on vaccines (3rd from last paragraph).

How can we wake up the people who have not witnessed first hand the devastation of the vaccine program? Those who have witnessed it, namely the parents (many of whom make their comments on this website) don't need convincing. Many of them KNOW that their child was adversely affected by vaccines, despite the protestations of their pediatricians and all of the aforementioned authorities.

I guess we just need to keep plugging away.

Michael B Schachter MD, CNS

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Anne, I hope you are correct about federal and state agencies having to face autism. Some actions will happen no doubt, but I , like Heather, believe that to a large extent the parents are on their own. I deeply believe that the people who caused this catastrophe are hoping that the autistic kids will be taken care of in various ways and not make too much noise as it is done, until they pass away. Meanwhile, society as a whole will look upon autism the way we all looked upon the Downs syndrome kids in our time - "Poor parents, poor kids, too bad they were unlucky- nothing to do about it.... Turn on the TV"
The people who caused this catastrophe know that with the decreased use of mercury in vaccines, autism is going to decline- Its just that we wont know about it until maybe 2015-2018, when they finally publish another study. Meanwhile they will figure out a way to explain to the medical fraternity how something caused autism to decrease. They have a long time in which to do that. Autism will never be one in 25 in the US, unless environmental mercury becomes increasingly hazardous.
I know that these are anecdotal observations, but you can increasingly see similar observations on AOA comments:
1. I was in California this summer and I could see not autism in children under age 8 except for one girl who was from India, where high mercury vaccines are still in use.
2. My friend tells me that she just got a photo of her "autistic" grandson smiling broadly with his arms around two friends (11 years old boys in Los Angeles) My friend insists that they have diagnosed her grandson (who loves to speak at great length with adults) with autism and not Aspergers. This is what passes as autism today, no doubt under the guise of better diagnosing , and this is what is going to keep the statistics for new incidence high enough to fool the doctors into believing that "We took out the mercury and the rate of new cases is still rising"


State and Federal funding is little better than spitting into the ocean. Deny, delay and hope they die off is government reputation.

“think global but act local”... we donated to our favorite biological recovery org for this year's peace gift. It aint much but, I see no alternative but to give to an open ended org that lets parents choose their testing and treatments. Any 2 cents donated in this direction has got to be better than that government spittle.




I'm not going to be as diplomatic as some of the others here. I'm actually offended and disgusted by your post. Do you expect us to just give up on having insurance help us take care of our kids??? So that we don't "overwhelm" those government workers??? Are you kidding? How overwhelmed are WE as parents?!?! It is our RESPONSIBILITY to advocate for our children so that they can get the proper care and support they deserve. None of us are sitting at home and just waiting for handouts. We are caring and fighting for our kids every single day. However, since it is the government who has made these toxic vaccines mandatory, they OWE us something for DESTROYING our precious children's health!

Insurance companies and government officials would rather sweep these problems under the rug and pretend they don't exist. They claim that no increase in Autism has occurred. Where are all the recovered adults with Autism? Show them to me. I'm sure if they were around, they'd be all over the news, calming us terrified parents and letting us know that we should just relax, since Autism just magically goes away on its own! Your statements are proof positive that you clearly don't know anything about this subject so I suggest you do some research on this fine site to educate yourself before you attack a bunch of hard working parents who would give up their own lives in order to better their children's future. Sheesh!


It was me, I admit it, it is me that blast the federal protection agencies.

And let me add, I hate them because they have earned it.

Not because they were overwhelmed, not because there is just so many of us poor, mental retarded masses - because they chose it to be.

I did not use to hate them some 30 years ago, I just gradually grew into my hate! Because they earned it.

Mike Kohloff

The near future of State & Federal financial aid to people with Autism & all others who need assistance of any kind is beyond bleak. The Federal debt is only one of many crises. Every state & most cities in the nation are facing serious to huge budget short falls, & it will become even worse as underfunded & generous public employee pension & benefit liabilities & other expenses increase.

Increasing state & local revenue thru increased taxes has & will continue to meet determined resistance from already angry & poorer citizens.
The Federal bailouts to states in 2010 that kept them barely above water (& were largely misspent) will likely not be available in quantity in 2011 or beyond.

And the next wave of the mortgage crisis will hit soon as the commercial real estate market continues to unwind & experience serious vacancy rates leading to more defaults & bankruptcies. So the local tax base is shrinking nationwide.

If the US Dollar loses its exalted status as the world's reserve currency & is supplanted by another, as several other countries are planning to do, then supporting the American lifestyle by the selling of US debt abroad will come to a very climactic end, with national humiliation.

What will this very certain coming economic collapse mean to all those needing State & Federal assistance to get by or even survive? This can be answered by looking at how our governments currently care for the homeless, Autism & mentally challenged, & other needy ones now.

It's very unsettling to contemplate &
I apologize for presenting a very dark picture. But it's better to deal with reality before it bites you, rather than afterward.
It would be wise to prepare as best one can for the future without counting on meaningful assistance from a Corporate controlled & corrupted government that helped cause & continues to cover up the Autism crime.

Teresa Conrick

Hi Heather,

I think you are new here? Welcome. Please know as a parent to a child severely impaired, I applaud your mother and you for all that you have done and continue to do for your sister. I do feel the need though to clarify some points:

You said- "but the disgust shown would be better channeled into action than wild scenarios or bashing on overwhelmed government agencies who are dealing with more than 'just' autistic kids and adults."

-These are not wild scenarios. Did you read the next post on the adult son who bashed his mother to the cement? This is not a mild disability.

And the 2nd part of your comment - referring to "bashing on overwhelmed government agencies who are dealing with more than 'just' autistic kids and adults.- sounds a bit angry. Please know it is not our fault that agencies are "overwhelmed" with all of these autistic kids. We are not calling it an epidemic for nothing and these agencies best do more than they are doing because autism IS and WILL BE a severe drain on federal and state dollars and everything imaginable in between.

Again- great that your mother opened a school but the rapid numbers in the past 10 years of children diagnosed is all about CAUSATION. We must stop the children being harmed and this is where you and I must part in reality, as you put it. Many of these children were typical -- and you must know that is a large interest of this website -- to advocate for the injured children and prevent more harm. The government MUST be involved due to the nature of the history of autism and documented environmental insult, especially vaccines.

It is imperative that child recovery stories and medical histories are reported and documented. What you are saying is to keep it a secret. That is not the point of this advocacy. We want children to get better and in doing so, it speaks to the huge point that autism is not some mysterious, genetic, incurable, brain damage. It is a MEDICAL disorder that deserves research and cures.

Again, great that you are devoted to your sister and she also deserves help from those government agencies responsible for services but please do not include autism in your scenario because in many respects autism is a separate entity because many of these children have complex medical issues that have gone on denied and poorly researched -- plus there was no epidemic prior to 1990 so there is no adult population with an autism diagnosis that can compare with what we are seeing now. There is a huge difference and again speaks to what our advocacy and future goal is for these children and young adults.

Lastly, please if you can, read the book, "Age of Autism", that you see on the sidebar here. It is an unprecedented and historical documentation and exploration of the roots to autism because autism has not, as you said always been around, and the increased numbers since 1990 loudly signifies the environmental assault. - "Disabled children have always been around."


My child is also recovered (lost classic 1980's criteria autism dx, no longer qualifies for speech and/or special Ed). It didn't happen spontaneously!! We worked very hard on diet, and detox (105 CAaEDTA ivs with a DAN! md), and truckloads of whole food supplements. Our child was most definetly vaccine injured, evidenced by a seizure immediately following his "well baby" visit. He was dxed autism at age 28 months, recovered by age 6. We will continue to tell other parents our story, in hopes to prevent vaccine injury in another child, no matter who may get offended.

Lynn Demartini

It is also important to understand that "Autism" is a label that encompasses a vast myriad of symptoms. Labels serve for prescribing drugs and services or filing insurance, but they don't truly serve our children. There are more children than you can imagine who don't YET have a label but are nonetheless chronically ill (I venture to say that the numbers are closer to 1:3 or more)and will also become a financial burden on the system. We are in a desperate health care crisis and without focus on PREVENTION there is no future for our species.


Heather, should we NOT post that our children have recovered? And HOW?

I was told by every doctor that recovery was impossible. It was because of people who had to SCREAM their stories (because nobody would listen to them) that I knew that it WAS possible.

What do you want us to do--pretend our children haven't recovered? And pretend that we had to treat vaccine-induced disease in order to recover them?

Isn't the point to show people not only how we recovered our children, but to prevent other children from being damaged?


I'm a little confused by the article and some of the comments. Disabled children have always been around. My own sister, who is 52 years old, was taken care of by my mom every day and now by me. She is not autistic but mentally handicapped. People before you and even now are still fighting for these services but it will always be an under served percentage of the population because they can not advocate for themselves. Harsh reality, doesn't mean we stop fighting but the disgust shown would be better channeled into action than wild scenarios or bashing on overwhelmed government agencies who are dealing with more than 'just' autistic kids and adults.

It's a very real fact, one that I am adjusting to right now, that all these services you want will not be there. You will be the caretaker, educator, nurse and more for your child. You can't rely on services, agencies or anyone else for this role. Start making your own plans rather then waiting for the government to step up to this role for you. Start raising money, start a foundation, start a charity built to handle these needs. It's going to take advocacy, time, energy and resources on your part to make it change. I saw my own mom start the first Special Needs school in my state back in the 50's.

I also don't think it helps the cause that so many post how their child is recovered. You present the scenario that if autistic kids have always been in such high numbers where are they as adults. Which just presents you for the classic argument that maybe, like so many here, they simply recovered.



You have just provided this community with the action statement for the year,
"When is someone going to declare war on an enemy that has claimed almost a million child victims in this country and shows no signs of retreating?
I am going to post and send this quote everywhere I can think of and I hope everyone else does also!

Harry H.

Here in Illinois I wonder how long we will continue to have any services at all. The Neanderthals who run this state have run it into the grave. We are $14 Billion in the hole and sinking deeper with no end in sight. When further cuts come, and they certainly must, who do you think is getting the axe? Certainly not the groups that pay to get a share of the remaining crumbs. The disabled, especially the autism families, can't afford crumbs let along the necessary payoffs to secure the crumbs. Illinois already ranks 51st in providing services for the disabled. The only question remaining is how much lower can we go? 151st? 251st?


I think I will apply for a job at the CDC. Sure it means I have to move to Atlanta, uproot my family, but where else could you find find employment were you do nothing? Where else would you find health insurance, retirement plan, better paythan anything you could find in the private sector and not have to provide any results?

Where else could I possibly work; where a reported mysterious disease (That we know is caused by breathing in mice poop) - but if we act like we are alarmed - we can get a free plane ride/free trip/free travel to some part of the country we have never been before to find that mouse?

And where else could we just sigh, shrug our shoulders, indicate that only GOD/act of nature is responsible for things like kids losing their minds, or not being able to learn, or having mood disorders, or reports of increase in the nation's citizens of immune problems,obsesity, childhood dibeties, adult type dibeities, thyroid problems, pancreaties, unspecified imflammatory disease, lupus,- BUT IT AIN'T US?

Sounds like a dream job to me!
Except of course, I am most probably go'in burn in hell.



I appreciate your focus on stemming the tide. It's critical but let's not forget the impact inadequate supports will have on the existing population (like my son). State legislators and policy makers are indeed overwhelmed by autism issues. The existing support construct for developmentally disabled kids and adults is not only inadequate, it's for the most part wholly inappropriate for most people with autism. It was set up largely based on the needs of the Down Syndrome and MR population.

The policy makers do know this and are very, very worried that the demands for supports from people with autism over the next decade will totally break the existing system (all this in an environment of State fiscal crises). But it's not like there's nothing being done. A lot of people are trying to educate and change policy but they need a lot more help.

While most AoA folks are focused on stemming the tide of new diagnoses (which I agree is important), there are an absolute ton of kids and young adults entering or about to enter a social service system that's totally unprepared for them. I try to encourage any and all to reach out to one another, even if they disagree on many fundamental issues, in order to form a united front on issues like housing, employment, and civil rights. A lot more advocates than we have today are needed to effect change. Divided we fall and fail.

80% of adults 18-30 with autism live at home with their parents, versus 32% for the typical population. There's a sky high (80-95% by most measures) unemployment rate. There's a reason. Crappy, unsafe, or unstable options. Too few good providers. Diffuse, uneven regional efforts on jobs and housing.

Policy makers and legislators want us to come together as a community to advocate for a common solution on adult and lifespan issues. They do not want to hear from 10 different organizations and make a choice...they'd rather pass than choose.

While real and important disagreements exist on issues of causation, I wish folks of all stripes would grit their teeth and set aside their differences on that issue to advocate for common sense policy as it impacts adults, whatever autism subtype they may fit into or identify with.

Bob Moffitt

"I’m fully prepared that 10 years from now when the rate is at one in 25, U.S. health officials still won’t know or care what the cause of autism is."

If history is to be our guide .. public health officials will continue the same "delay, deny and hope they die" strategy they have always employed to save their own professional reputations .. as well as .. the reputations of the public health bureaucracies they serve. Obviously, time is on their side .. the longer the distance between a tragic failure of public health policies .. and .. the eventual admission of that mistake .. the harder it will be to hold accountable those most responsible for it.

Agent Orange? Lead in gasoline? Cigarettes and cancer?

Indeed, the best way to "delay and deny" any problem .. is to simply avoid doing the scientific research that would make "denial" impossible. Such as .. an independent, scientific study of "vaccinated vs. unvaccinated" populations.

In my humble opinion .. the absolute refusal of public health agencies to conduct basic, common sense studies .. such as .. mitochondria dysfunction PRIOR to vaccinations .. that may help determine the potential adverse effects of vaccines, their ingredients .. and .. the policies by which they are administered .. on the DEVELOPING CHILD .. is a classic case study of science DELAYED .. meaning science that SHOULD be done .. but .. remains .. deliberately .. UNDONE.

Theodora Trudorn

I've been harping and harping and harping on this ever since I got into the movement years ago! I can't count how many times I have said CHILDREN GROW UP!!!!!! And what is going to happen when this next generation graduates (which they are about to do) and comes on to the service system?!

We already have taken severe hits as the budget cuts takes more and more of our services away. We do not have the resources to take on this mass amount of people who are going to need us! This is a CRISIS!!! I wonder how long they will shut thier eyes.

And what it will take to open them!!

David Troutman

Ugh, The state of Indiana solved it,s problem. When the kids age out of services just drop them off at a homeless shelter. I,m tired of pulling my hair out screaming at these politicians about the train wreck that is just starting to crash.GOD bless DAN DR. both of my boys are recovered.Do the math we are in serious trouble.

Maurine Meleck

This is a very good piece, Anne, and one that I can refer to in order to get some letters together for the SC legislature and newspapers. Thanks, maurine

Anite Stratton

im scared,, , my son suffers with autism and as he gets older i see less and less preparedness from agencies on how to deal with his disablities, we need help now ......

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