The CDC reports that about 1 in 68 American children has Autism Spectrum Disorder and that number has increased significantly over the last decade. But, it’s hard to know if autism is really on the rise or if greater awareness and better diagnosis are bringing previously undetected cases under the umbrella.
Even with increasing numbers, accessing available treatments is not always easy. In Connecticut, advocates are concerned about controversial rules that could erect barriers to the expanded coverage offered through Connecticut's Medicaid program.
To make it worse, Governor Malloy's proposed budget is requesting reductions from a state program that allows young people diagnosed with both autism and mental illness to live with their families...further restricting access for the sickest.
But, finding a cure remains frustratingly out of reach. While some research shows early intervention and intensive treatment with Applied Behavior Analysis can “cure” a very small percentage of young adults with autism spectrum disorder, the vast majority of people benefit most from early detection and access to a variety of ongoing treatments - including after they "age out" of the system.
We hear from one such adult who was diagnosed at age 8 and at 21, has lots to offer and a job at FOCUS Center for Autism. We also talk to an entrepreneur whose company is built upon the talents of employees with autism spectrum disorder. Sometimes, they just need someone to give them a foot in the door.
Today, we talk about autism access, research and treatment.
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John Dankosky is the host of Where We Live. Tucker Ives was the technical producer for today's show.
- Arielle Levin-Becker - healthcare reporter for CTMirror.org
- Deborah Fein - Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and editor of "The Neuropsychology of Autism." Her book, "The Activity Kit for Babies and Toddlers at Risk: How to Use Everyday Routines to Build Social and Communication Skills" will be out this fall
- Donna Swanson - Executive Director at FOCUS Center for Autism
- Dan Lenois - Team Leader for Spectrum Unplugged Panel and Mentoring Program at FOCUS diagnosed as a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Rajesh Anandan - Co- Founder of Ultra Testing