Excerpted from HuffPo. Clinton on Autism: Need for Paradigm Shift
After nearly 20 years of advocacy on behalf of an appropriate public health response to the public health emergency of rising rates of severe autism, I'm honored to be joined by mothers of teenagers with autism and full time, tireless autism advocates, Katie Wright and Lisa Wiederlight in writing a response to Secretary Hillary Clinton's "Plan to Support Children, Youth, and Adults Living with Autism and Their Families".
Nine years after her remarks in 2007 that autism is "one of the most urgent--and least understood--challenges facing our children today," autism prevalence has climbed from 1 in 150 to 1 in 45 American children, with no cause and no new treatments identified.
Secretary Clinton is a long-time child and disability advocate, so we were not surprised to see her be the first out of the gate with some concrete recommendations that will positively affect the lives of many with autism. Her insightful remarks in New Hampshire this month included recognition of autism's increasing prevalence, and the need to prevent and treat it. Specifically:
"I think we have to take seriously what seems to be an increasing diagnosis of autism. And we need to do much more research about what is causing it. We've got to do what we can to prevent it. And then when it is diagnosed, intensive treatment."
Secretary Clinton's Plan provides many necessary changes for improving the safety, education, employment, and housing of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The focus on reducing bullying, banning certain kinds of restraints in schools, having appropriate transition plans for young adults, reaching out to underserved populations, and the development of the Autism Works Initiative deserves full support.