Autism Prevalence Worsens: 1-In-88 In U.S., 1-In-49 In NJ

New alarming data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 1 in every 88 American children and 1 in every 49 New Jersey children has a form of autism. “The national numbers, including and especially in my home state of New Jersey, are shocking,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), author of Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, Public Law 112-32. “Each one of these statistics represents real children and real families who struggle and need our help and assistance.”

The study also found a continuing higher prevalence of ASDs in boys than girls (1-in-252 girls and 1-in-54 boys). However, in New Jersey, of the 1 in 49 children with a form of autism, Smith noted a staggering 1 in 29 boys with the disability.

“We as a nation must do much more, especially to determine causation and ensure early diagnosis, so interventional care can begin as early as possible. The stakes are so high: the quality of life of so many children is at risk. We need research, new treatments and a path to a cure.” said Smith, who also authored the provision in Title I of the Children’s Health Act (PL 106-310) which created the Centers of Excellence in Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disabilities Epidemiology that carried out this study.

“Prevention, treatment and ultimately a cure for this developmental disability must be our highest priority. We need to bring a ‘Manhattan Project’ type focus to this essential life saving work. Delay is not an option,” Smith said.

Smith’s landmark legislation enacted in 2000—the Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research and Epidemiology Act (Title I, P.L. 106-310) created the first comprehensive federal program to combat autism. In 2011, another piece of legislation he authored The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act(CARA)”— (now Public Law 112-32) was enacted and will provide $693 million over the next three years to continue the program.

“The new CDC data shows a sharp increase from the appalling 2006 data that documented 1-in-110 children with an autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)—a 23 percent increase,” Smith said.

This morning, Smith , the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Coalition on Autism Research and Education (C.A.R.E.), spoke to Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC, about the new data. The information was set to be released at a CDC briefing for Congress Thursday afternoon.

The CDC study, entitled Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, provides autism prevalence estimates from 14 states, including New Jersey. It was published today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Smith’s law, CARA, signed September 30, 2011 authorized for each of the next three fiscal years: $22 million for the Developmental Disabilities Surveillance and Research Program; $48 million for Autism Education, Early Detection, and Intervention, and; $161 million for hundreds of Research Grants at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and for the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

In May 2011, Smith chaired a hearing on U.S. and global autism. He also has written two other bills in the current 112th Congress, H.R. 2006, “The National Autism Spectrum Disorders Initiative Act,” and H.R. 2007, “The Autism Spectrum Disorders Services Act.” H.R. 2006 designates the Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services Department as head of the national autism effort, and authorizes the Secretary to approve a strategic plan developed by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), in consultation with the National Institute for Health. H.R. 2007 broadens the existing IACC by expanding public representation and by making services to individuals with autism a major focus. H.R 2007 establishes a planning and demonstration grant program for services to children, transitioning youth, adults, and individuals of any age who may be at risk of injury, authorizes grants for protection and advocacy systems, and creates a national training initiative to better equip teachers and autism services providers.

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  1. vaccines are very important, you don’t vaccinate your child can not go to school, it’s not the vaccines, it could be the preservative themerosol that they use, just ask the Doctor for the shot that does not have this in it. but i still don’t believe its the vaccines but something else. My nephew is autistic he is 13 yrs and does not speak, but we as a family are lucky to have him in our lives, we love him so very much, I still believe in giving your child there shots, without them other childhood illness will be on the rise again,

  2. I would like to thank the TLS for publishing this article as autism awareness is very important
    I am asking the TLS to please let this go through as the issues are serious and parents reading this must be aware of the truth and politics has to take a back seat which it comes to Autism.

    I am a parent of a child with autism and know quite a bit about it. It is true that on the federal level Rep. Chris Smith has been maybe the most active member of the house in helping autism. All the bills quoted in this article are true, and he was very involved in getting them put into law.
    BUT, ask any parent of an Autistic child if they ever heard of any of these laws and they will say NO, ( I am from the very few people , if not the only one in Lakewood who did not learn much from this article as i have a pretty good knowledge of Autism laws and I get all the emails from Autism Society and Autism Speaks , and actually read them.)
    Furthermore, now that they read this article, does anyone even know the benefits that can obtain ?
    The truth is that aside for the law that designates federal disability status (which will help you with SSI or if your bringing litigation for discrimination) , the federal laws do practically nothing for the individual.
    In Lakewood alone based on statistics there must be over 400 children preschool through high school, but the Lakewood school system did not have a single BCBA on staff ( for those that don’t know a BCBA is someone certified in ABA which is the primary form of early intervention for autism , and the only for of intervention that is recognized by the government , sorry floortime / DIR people.) until linden hired Julie Wolff a short while ago ( and I’m not sure if she is still there) .

    Furthermore the most frustrating part is that with 80% of children in this town going to private schools the whole preschool contract was given to Catipult ( and now some to Oros Yisrael ) and again not a single BCBA works for Catipult and not a single autistic child can obtain autism related services through IDEA money.

    I brought this to the attention of Rep. Chris Smiths office and spoke extensively to his deputy explaining to him clearly what the situation was in Lakewood . I asked him the being the Lakewood was part of Rep. Smith’s constituency , wouldn’t it make sense for him to use is power to show that the laws he was enacting actually and practically worked. To make a long story short his office did ABSOLUTELY nothing to help the situation. The Lakewood BOE is still a very sorry site when it comes to dealing with autism as ASD children are still getting shafted by the district at all ends, right in Rep Smith backyard.
    I am challenging him or his office to reply to these charges and if he or someone from his office wants to reply to it i would be appreciated and the can leave a direct number at which i can reach them.

    On a positive note, the only ones in NJ who can pump really pump their chests are those involved with the NJ Autism Insurance reform Law. Assemblywoman Joan Voss, Fort Lee,, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, D-Secaucus, and Sens. Joseph Vitale, D-Woodbridge, and Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck who sponsored the bill, and most of all of to Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) for not only sponsoring the bill but for also being the most vocal in pushing it through and getting it to the governor’s desk . ( by the time it reached the his desk it had over 90% bi- partisan support with not a single senate DEM voting against it and was not something that he could veto with a serious backlash) . This law has allowed tens of local families to get therapies needed for these children, which would otherwise have been financially restrictive.

    If parent of an ASD or PDD child ( or if they think their child may be affected by ASD or PDD they can post an email address and i will discretely contact them and explain to them how to obtain the unnecessary services granted in the NJ Autism Insurance reform Law.

  3. I have often wondered if all the sicknesses we have now are caused by the fact that everything, including food, is wrapped in plastic, a petroleum product. Years ago, when food was wrapped in paper, we did not have all these illnesses. And food was stored in the refrigerator in glass containers, not plastic.

  4. I want to mention one thing about vaccines. Most of the recommended ones are necessary, but some can be delayed till a child is older. Giving so many shots to a tiny infant all at the same time can in the future be proven to be harmful. Get educated about the different vaccines and when they should really be given to be most productive and useful. My children got all their recommended vaccines over twenty years ago or so, but at that time there were less than half the amount given today.

    I would also like to mention that in my time pregnant women were not given ultrasounds unless medically necessary. Ultrasounds have not been proven to be safe. Do your own research on ultrasounds and think twice before you agree to have one when pregnant if not medically necessary.

    Finally, feed your children healthy food! Get rid of junk food – even on Shabbos. You will be doing them a big favor and teaching them the right way to eat throughout their lives. (And of course, follow the same for yourself!)

  5. For those of you who have an autistic child, there are organizations in town that can help you navigate the journey. The one that I get services through, BrainBuilders, is staffed by excellent therapists and is managed by caring staff.

    There are also various charities that provide grants for ABA therapy. With therapy and lots of parental ollow up, your child can have a bright future.

  6. While autism is very real, it’s not real at those numbers. The ‘autism spectrum’ which includes very high functioning children who previously would have gone undiagnosed (some would say because by them there is no disfunction to diagnose), inflates those numbers considerably.

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