Download the video podcast here. Ms. Wiederlight’s testimony starts at 03:26:00
SafeMinds Executive Director Lisa Wiederlight testified in front of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) in January to ask its members to immediately establish the four work groups SafeMinds recommended at the November 16, 2015 meeting. The work groups are:
1) Environmental Factors that May Underlie the Rise in Autism Prevalence
2) Co-occurring Conditions with Autism
3) Autism and Wandering
4) Caregiver Support
Ms. Wiederlight’s full testimony is below:
My name is Lisa Wiederlight. I am the mother of a 15 year old son with autism, and executive director of SafeMinds, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to end the autism epidemic by promoting environmental research and effective treatments.
In November, I asked this Committee to form four workgroups to address the urgency of the autism crisis. I am told that you must begin to formulate a Strategic Plan immediately, and so I ask that these workgroups are established today, to inform the Strategic Plan document. The four workgroups are: (1) Environmental Factors that May Underlie the Rise in Autism Prevalence; (2) Co-occurring Conditions with Autism; (3) Autism and Wandering; and (4) Caregiver Support.
Workgroup 1: the Environment. Autism is an urgent issue for this country—in terms of the safety, health, and welfare of people with autism and the skyrocketing costs to American taxpayers. As you know, autism prevalence has increased from 1 in 88 in 2012 to 1 in 45 in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With a number of potential environmental causes tentatively identified scientifically but no policy in place to utilize these findings for prevention, it is unlikely this number will cease its downward spiral anytime soon.