You should care because unlike other diseases, ASD is not a fatal condition; most have a normal life expectancy. ASD could be viewed as a combination of breast cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s in one horrible package.
It strikes without warning, it carries a stigma and social avoidance and it affects one’s ability to comprehend the world and communicate feelings, thoughts or needs.
You should care because this large group of children and young adults is quickly growing up.
My posted comments:
Right now stories about autism in the news are about CHILDREN WITH AUTISM, but, as Jennifer Hendrick pointed out, these children are growing up, and they will live long lives dependent on the taxpayers of each state. What should really frighten everyone is the fact that the numbers continue to increase, with no end in sight.
Jan 21, 2016, Sacramento Bee: Number of California students classified as autistic jumps for 14th consecutive year
“More than 90,000 California public school students are autistic, a number that has risen more than six-fold since 2001, according to the latest data from the California Department of Education.
“The figure represent a jump of about 6,000, or 7 percent, from 2013-14 to 2014-15. More than one of every 75 kindergartners in California public schools is classified as autistic.
“The number of autistic students statewide has risen by between 5,000 and 7,000 every year for a decade. In 2001, there were about 14,000 autistic students in the state.”
The state government in California has long known that autism is a growing crisis, but still there are no answers.
Back in 20009, President pro Tem of the California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg , announced the establishment of the Senate Select Committee on Autism (ASD). Steinberg said that their intention is to make autism a “public health priority.”
Various state officials and autism advocates spoke at a press conference explaining what their work would include. They talked about the cost of autism, the need for services, and the shocking numbers in CA.
While Steinberg made a reference to the “prevention of autism,” no one expanded on this idea during the press conference. A number of upcoming bills were talked about.
One state senator aims to help with early diagnosing and intervention. Someone else is working on housing for people with autism. Another senator is focusing on employment for affected adults.
One speaker gave us the mind-boggling numbers, saying that there were "14,000 students with autism a decade ago.” Then he added the increase, “46,000 students today, and growing."
As I watched the video, I kept waiting for someone to say, "We have to find out why this is happening to so many children. We can't keep adding thousands of children like this. This is a national health care emergency." But no one did.
Rick Rollens of the MIND INSTITUTE spoke and made what I thought were the best comments.
These were among the things he said:
"Autism is epidemic in this state as it is throughout the country."
"Autism population is skewed dramatically toward young children."
"Eight-four percent of the autism population is under the age of 21."
"More six and seven year olds in the system than all the adults with autism combined."
Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism