Challenge for Our Community and Families:
Based on calculations using population proportions, over 1,500 individuals in Monroe County are diagnosed with autism, including 800 under age 24, and 300 children under age 18 (note 1). The incidence rate has been on the rise, and the rate for Indiana has doubled over the last 8 years, reaching 1 out of 77 in 2013 (note 2).
Caring for these individuals is a great challege for affected families and the community. It creates a great strain on affected families, both financially and emotionally. The State provides funding for traditional medicines and living assistances, though not support for direct autism interventions. It usually falls on the affected families to find resources that can improve the symptoms of autism. Help for early (and continued) interventions for affected individuals can greatly increase their chance of independence and reduce the burden on the community in the long run.
- The population statistics are from U.S. Census Bureau and Indiana Business Research Center. The estimate is based on the incidence ratio for the State in Pratt, 2013. Pratt notes that no incidence data for individual counties are available.
- Cathy Pratt, “Increasing Incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders Continues in Indiana,” Indiana Resource Center for Autism Newsletter, 2013 (http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/index.php?pageId=361). The study is based on student counts in Indiana.
Hope for Autism
Autism was once deemed untreatable, but today the prevalent emphasis is on early and continued interventions. Today’s individuals with autism have a much better chance of leading a productive and fulfilling life than ever before. There have been an increasing number of reports on individuals who have completely recovered from autism or made substantial improvements. With proper medical, therapeutical, and educational interventions, dramatic improvements have happened to both young children and adults on the spectrum.
While it may take years for scientists to obtain funding to conduct comprehensive evaluations on the effectiveness of each treatment and intervention, the fact remains that parents want to provide all the possible help to their children, right now. It often falls upon the parents to search through mountains of existing data to determine the best interventions for their children. It can be a daunting task for parents who are already struggling with daily cares. AuSSM is here to provide information of what other local parents have found to be helpful, so we can all share information, experiences, and local resources. Together we can be stronger for our children, whether they are minors or adults.