CNN Runs Scared from the Truth about Andrew Wakefield
Conference, Congressional Initiatives About Choices For Adults with Autism & ID

Dachel Media Review: Wandering with No Shoes

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

Feb 10, 2014, The Cost of Autism in Billions

Feb 10, 2014, US News: Autism Costs Average $17,000 Yearly for Each Child, Study Finds

Feb 9, 2014, CBS Chicago: Girl Rescued After Walking With No Shoes Onto Ice Near Montrose Harbor

Feb 7, 2014, Forbes: Keep Religion Out Of Science Education And Debates

The thought of a disorder costing the average family thousands of dollars annually is quite frightening, let alone the overall cost of $11.5 billion in the United States. That's exactly what what said- billion. Over $11.5 billion are spent per year, according to 2011 statistics, to care for the country's autistic children. That is enough to cover part of the country's national debt, build a full-functioning city or two. The figures are scarily high and seem to be climbing by the year.

Autism in itself is a disorder that can range from the very low to the extremely-high functioning. What does this mean? A genetic disorder that has been supported by twin studies, autism can encompass everything from one being able to conduct him or herself in society with a few quirks that define the differences to growing up but having the mind of a child and the abilities of one as well. One can be a savant, while the other non-verbal and unable to care for him/herself.

The suffering of a generation of children has failed to get the attention of the government or the CDC or the media. The CAUSE OF AUTISM is left as a mystery we have all the time in the world to solve. The same can't be said about the COST OF AUTISM. That is bound to get everyone's attention.

"A genetic disorder"? Please, don't try and blame this on parents with bad genes.

"$3.2 million to take care of an autistic person over his or her lifetime"? Please, don't give us an eight year old underestimate.

US News

The cost of services for children with autism averages more than $17,000 per child each year -- with school systems footing much of the bill, a new U.S. study estimates.

Researchers found that compared to kids without autism, those with the disorder had higher costs for doctor visits and prescriptions -- an extra $3,000 a year, on average.

But the biggest expenses were outside the medical realm. "Non-health care" services averaged $14,000 per child, and special education at school accounted for more than 60 percent of those costs. . . .

These findings, she said, give a more comprehensive view. Her team estimates that services for children with autism cost the United States $11.5 billion in 2011 alone.

"The societal cost is enormous," said Michael Rosanoff, associate director of public health research and scientific review for Autism Speaks, a New York City-based advocacy group.

Why is it we never hear about adults with autism? How can society be so concerned about services for children, while ignoring the adult population?

The truth is, no one has ever been able to show us a comparable rate among adults, especially adults with classic autism whose symptoms are obvious to everyone. That simple fact should be scaring us all. When we talk about autism, it's almost always about children with autism. The rate of one in 88 was based on studies of eight year olds, not eighty year old.

If we think the societal costs are high now, imagine the future when all these children age out of school and are dependent on the taxpayers for their support and care.

CBS Chicago

A girl with autism was rescued from Lake Michigan after walking down an embankment without wearing any shoes and onto the ice near Montrose Harbor Sunday morning.

The 13-year-old girl’s mother called for help about 10:45 a.m. from the 4200 block of North Lake Shore Drive, where the girl had broken away from her mother, jumped a fence and walked onto the ice near Montrose Harbor, Fire Media Affairs Chief Verdi Allen said.

When rescue crews reached her out on the ice, the girl, who has autism, was not wearing shoes, and she tried to fight off firefighters who carried her back to land, Allen said.

This is another part of autism we're all learning to accept. Senator Charles Schumer recently called autistic kids who wander, "an age old problem."

GPS devices and the problem's solved.


A few years ago, Texas was the center of a nutty battle over rewriting science and history to include a clearly Christian worldview in its textbooks intended for public school students. Although the state's textbook reviewers requested that publishers include creationism-yes, you read that right-in its science curriculum, ultimately, publishers declined to do so. Chagrined creationists bemoaned this steadfast adherence to including only science in science textbooks for our nation's schoolchildren. . . .

Fifteen years of damage done, and this charter school network is teaching children at dozens of schools in Texas and Arkansas that the jury is still out on vaccines and autism, indoctrinating a new generation in the misinformation and fear surrounding both. The thread that connects government mistrust, vaccine resistance, fear, and religion is a tangled one, but it's also very real. Teaching students to rely on belief rather than on evidence and results from testable hypotheses does them-and public health-no favors

Willingham never tires of trashing those who believe vaccines cause autism.  Creationism and the vaccine-autism link....  More pretense that she has all the science on her side.  I posted a number of comments.



Sadly, I think tragic stories like Avonte Oquendo are what makes the biggest impact on the public in as far as understanding the dangers of autism wandering. I did contact Autism Speaks about making wandering the theme of Autism Awareness month. My thinking is AS may as well focus on a very real issue in our community instead of just raising awareness. I think my son bolts for two reasons. He either wants something or he is running from (escaping) something that is causing him stress. He also likes the thrill of being chased. It's been very difficult. I can barely keep up with him. When he bolts, he is very fast and one day I fear he will get hurt bc/ he has no sense of danger. Sometimes I feel I have to keep a death grip on him when we are out and about just to keep him safe.

Roger Kulp

SarahW,we are the ones that need to educate the media,not the other way around.

If most people with autism who wander are like me,they are not aware of their wandering,what happens,or what they do while wandering.Until I see a mountain of studies that prove me wrong,I am convinced most wandering in autism is related to seizures,like it was for me.This seems to be something that even a lot of people who read AoA seem unaware of.And if many people who post here are not aware of this,what does this say for the public at large.

This also gets to the US News article.Medical care is a big expense,and a lifelong one too.I like to think there are two very different types of severe autism.Intellectual disability is one type,the other is the medically fragile type,like I have.I can tell you,like most parents of these children can,the autism is often the easiest part of the condition to treat,even though it may take years to get it under control.

We are talking here about fairly new,or "rare",in the eyes of most doctors,diseases.Usually immune or metabolic.Since most doctors think everything is "just autism",and do not want to learn anything about this stuff,this means seeing a MAPS doctor.I don't need to tell any parents of children about the cost of doctors visits,tests,travel,and compounded prescriptions,most of which are not covered by insurance or SSI/Medicaid.These are expenses you struggle with the rest of your life.Miss one prescription refill,and you suffer a medical setback it might take two years to recover from.This happened to me a couple of months ago.

Obamacare was just as useless for me with my Cerebral Folate Deficiency,Severe 5,10-MTHF Deficiency,and half a dozen or so folate related medical problems,as it was to most of the other families here.I don't think we will get any real help until we are able to take autism awareness to the next level,and educate the public at large that a lot of what we see as autism,are serious,complex medical problems.


the "Girl Rescued with No Shoes on the Ice" headline irks me.. it could have read. "Another Child with Autism Endangered by Wandering". If you didnt read the story, the headline implies neglect on the part of her parents. Well, my son bolted YET AGAIN the other day he ran out the door and down the street in his socks (we had a storm recently and there is 6 inches of snow on the ground) I dont think he even felt it. Newspapers should do a better of educating the public on the problem of wandering in children with autism or at least use more careful wording.

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