Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Autism Awareness Day

April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day.

ASRCs day started out at 6am as Bill Butler (ASRC President) and Lisa McGrew (ASRC volunteer and Mrs. Nueces County) spoke with John Thomas at KiiiTV about the significance of the day, the new autism rates and our new organization. (see interview link to the right)

Later that day, ASRC had a table at Robstown's 1st "Light It Up Blue" festival at the Boys and Girls Club. Many people came out for the food and fun, and most importantly the information provided by organizations such as ECI, Headstart, and Almouie Pediatrics. The Trevino family did an amazing job organizing this event.

And lastly, that night we saw the "Light It Up Blue" campaign in action. Autism Speaks initiated the "Light It Up Blue" concept in which buildings and monuments around the world are encouraged to shine blue light in support of Autism Awareness. After numerous phone calls and emails from local parents requesting the city light up the Harbor Bridge, we reveled in the results. It was fate - as the Hooks were already lighting it blue - but to us it had a lot more meaning.

Now we are looking forward to the Autism Awareness Walk on Saturday, April 7th at 11am at Heritage Park. We hope to see you there.

Startling New Autism Rate

1 in 88

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its rate of autism prevalence in the United States to 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls). By comparison, this is more children than are affected by diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome – combined. (according to Autism Speaks)

Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks, states:
"Autism can now officially be declared an epidemic in the United States.We are dealing with a national emergency that is in need of a national strategy. At 1 in 88, we now have over 1 million children directly affected by autism. According to a newly released study the annual cost of autism in the United States is a staggering $126 billion annually, more than tripling the cost analysis from six years ago. Behind all these statistics are real families, real individuals struggling each and every day...

Ultimately the question we need to ask ourselves is why over the last two decades has there been such a tremendous increase in autism? Dr. Peter Bearman of Columbia University was funded by the NIH to answer this very question. His findings have revealed that the increase in prevalence is only partly explained by a broadening of the diagnosis, improved detection, and more awareness. A large portion of the increase some 50% remains unexplained. That is why we must aggressively fund research, including the critical study of potential environmental factors. We need to find the answers. "