“It is as though 1 in 110 of our children are being kidnapped”
– Bradley Whitford of The West Wing
Autism is a 24/7 challenge for many people who must deal with it.
Autism is a developmental disability that affects, in different forms and to varying degrees, a person’s ability to communicate and socially interact with others. Those afflicted range from individuals who are simply disassociated with their environment and those around them, to people with little to no spoken language and severe developmental delays, to people who will remain dependant upon 24/7 care for their entire lives.
Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning that its severity and symptoms can range from mild, such as ADHD to Aspergers Disease to significant developmental restrictions.
Autistic children have the same emotions as other children. They have the same need for love and comfort, and desire to play and have fun. Just like you and I, they wish to be treated with respect and consideration.
Today, 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls.
Autism’s most defining trait is that it is characterized by extraordinary variability. Like snowflakes, no two autistic people are alike.
Did you know…
• 67 children are diagnosed per day, a new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
• Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
• Autism costs the nation over $90 billion per year, a figure expected to double in the next decade
• Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
• There is no medical detection or cure for autism
Incidence vs. Private Funding
• Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 20,000 / Funding: $175 million
• Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 8,000 / Funding: $394 million
• Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $130 million
• Autism: Affects 1 in 150 / Funding: $15 million
• Of this, only $100 million goes towards autism research. This represents 0.3% of total NIH funding
-Facts are from Autism Speaks
What is it like to raise a child with Autism?
Like the Race Across America raising a child with autism is a 24/7 challenge. The big difference is that at the end of the race we go home to our families while an autistic family still has that 24/7 challenge.
Most states do not require private insurance companies to cover even essential autism treatments and services. In the absence of coverage, families often pay as much as they can out-of-pocket for services that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year, often risking their homes and the educations of their unaffected children – essentially mortgaging their entire futures.
The Significance of the Puzzle Piece Image
You may have noticed the puzzle piece theme used on our website. Click here to read more about why puzzle pieces are the international symbol for Autism.
The puzzle piece logo was first created in 1963 by the National Autistic Society. They explain “that the symbol of the Society should be the puzzle as this did not look like any other commercial or charitable one as far as they could discover. The puzzle piece is so effective because it tells us something about autism: our children are handicapped by a puzzling condition; this isolates them from normal human contact and therefore they do not ‘fit in’.”
Since then, the interlocking, mutli-colored puzzle piece has become the international symbol of autism. Its significance has become multi-faceted. For some it represents the mystery and complexity of the disorder, for others it represents the mechanical nature of an autistics persons thought process. The bright colors are said to represent hope.