Archived News Entries

The Centers for Disease Control today announced that the estimated incidence of autism in children in the United States is now 1 in 88. These findings were based on data from 14 communities. According to the CDC report, autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls, with 1 in 54 boys identified. The number of children identified with ASDs ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah. The largest increases were among Hispanic and black children.

Autism Speaks announced today that preliminary findings of a research study funded by the organization estimates that the cost of autism to society has reached $126 billion per year in the US, and £34 billion per year in the UK. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the London School of Economics and the University of Pennsylvannia puts estimated costs of providing care for each person with autism affected by intellectual disability through his or her lifespan at $2.3 million in the US and £1.5 million ($2.4 million) in the UK. The lifetime costs of caring for individuals who are not impacted by intellectual disability are $1.4 million in the US and £917,000 in the UK (equivalent to $1.46 million). 

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently interviewed Eric Courchesne, part of a research team investigating gene abnormality and autism. The study, which appeared in PLoS Genetics on March 22, finds that genetic abnormalities not only impact the developing brain but continue to impact the adult autistic brain, albeit in very different ways, as it attempts to “rewire” itself. This study is among the first to focus on the dynamic neurological evolution of autism over the lifespan. In the interview, Courchesne notes, “That would seem to offer a potential target for pharmaceuticals to improve the remodeling.” At AA16 we hope that these results may help to change the popular conception of autism as an early childhood event to one of an evolving neurological process.

Sixteen-year-old Carly Fleischmann, who does not speak, has published a glimpse into her world by contributing to a new book, Carly's Voice. Carly's father, Arthur Fleischmann, is the primary author of the book, which chronicles Carly's development from a "nonverbal" child into a teen advocate.

Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC), a Maryland-based service provider, has created a photography program for adults with autism. Called the InFocus Project, the program was created when several autistic adults expressed an interest in the arts. The photographers involved in the program sell their work online and have had an exhibit in Washington, DC studio.

Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC), a Maryland-based service provider, has created a photography program for adults with autism. Called the InFocus Project, the program was created when several autistic adults expressed an interest in the arts. The photographers involved in the program sell their work online and have had an exhibit in Washington, DC studio.

The Florida Times-Union today profiles the mother of a 20-year-old man with severe autism. Michele Sheffield tells of her difficulties caring for her son and her concerns about finding adequate support.

Larry Blumenthal, executive producer for health at Philly.com, is the father of a 16-year-old son with autism who uses a computer to communicate. Blumenthal addresses some of the tough questions facing many families in an essay today.

Autism Speaks yesterday announced that it has awarded $450,000 to two projects focused on the needs of adults with ASD. One grant will help fund the development of a Functional Assessment Tool for Transition Aged Individuals with ASD, while the other will go toward a Daily Living and Residential Curriculum Project. These are the largest Family Services grants Autism Speaks has made to date.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is partnering with several philanthropic organizations to offer a week-long training program in advocacy for college students with ASD. Called the Autism Campus Inclusion Summer Institute, the program will take place in Baltimore, Maryland August 12-17, 2012. According to ASAN, "participants will learn how to engage in activism and advocacy activities on their college campuses."