Autism: The worst is yet to come

Editor:

A Nov. 13, 2015 story from “Autism Speaks” says a government survey revealed 1 in 45 children in the United States ages 3 to 17 is diagnosed with autism, which would be an increase of 73 percent since the year 2000.  The Centers for Disease Control, however, says the survey was based on an analysis of school and medical records of children at the age of 8.

In 2014, the National Center for Health Statistics conducted interviews with over 12,000 parents where one child was randomly chosen as the subject of in-depth questions on their health and disabilities. But a March 31 article from “Autism Speaks” reports that the CDC says that the overall rate for children with autism remained at 1 in 68 from 2014.  But this is only the beginning.

A July 27, 2015, article from “Autism Speaks” says the cost of care for the year 2015 was projected to be about $268 billion. By the year 2025, depending on the increase of people having autism, the cost of care is projected to reach $461 billion to $1 trillion, which would include special education, doctor visits, therapy, medication and lost productivity.

How much longer does this investigation have to remain on the shelf?  How many more people — that’s children and adults — have to be diagnosed as being in the autism spectrum disorder before anything is done? A Sept. 18, 2014, article from “Autism Speaks” said that about 500,000 Americans with a disability would outgrow school-based support programs after reaching the age of 21 by the year 2025.

To make matters worse, the CDC says that the number of adults with autism is expected to climb by 700 percent by the year 2030. The cost to support an adult with autism in a supported living setting would range from $50,000 to $100,000 annually.  A good example of the problem was shown on the April 12, 2015, broadcast of “Dateline NBC” titled “On The Brink.” The story featured two young adult males from New York afflicted by autism who were struggling to acquire assistance. Adults who have autism should be covered by insurance and should have advocacy. Children with autism grow up to become adults, but they cannot outgrow autism. This is why the state government should think about adults with autism and include them in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

There needs to be efforts made to insure that adults who have autism receive adequate help they need.

Dennis A. Brown II
Dearborn