Autism is a social, economic and health crisis.
Autism is a national emergency.
- As many as 1 in 166 births1
- 50 new cases of autism diagnosed every day1
- 1 to 1.7 million Americans2
- Fastest-growing developmental disability
- 10 - 17 % annual growth3
- Prevalence rates of autism increasing 10 times faster than all other disabilities3
- Growth comparison during the 1990s3:
- U.S. population increase: 13%
- Disabilities increase: 16%
- Autism increase: 172%
- $90 billion annual cost4
- More common than childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis combined4
- 90% of costs are in adult services5
- Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention5
- In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion6
ASA is the oldest and largest grassroots organization within the autism community, with more than 200 chapters and over 20,000 members and supporters nationwide. ASA is the leading source of education, information and referral about autism and has been the leader in advocacy on behalf of the autism community for more than three decades.
Since 1965, ASA has spearheaded countless initiatives to significantly improve the lives of individuals with autism, including numerous pieces of legislation, such as the right to a free appropriate public education; federal funding for autism research into the causes and treatments for autism; and awareness activities, such as National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM), held each April.
Working for the entire autism community:
- Working for the autism community for 38 years
- Addressing the needs of the autism community across the lifespan
- Working on restructuring plan to take us into the 21st century
- Offering hope to the hundreds of thousands affected by autism
Critical areas that address the needs of the autism community:
- Autism research in the causes and treatments of autism
- Early diagnosis and early intervention for children with autism
- Education for children with Autism
- Support and services for adults with autism.
Working with major government agencies:
- ASA has secured more funding for autism research than any other organization
- ASA working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies
- ASA working to increase funding for Early Head Start through U.S. Administration for Children and Families
Government funding for research:
- ASA requesting increase to $500 million for Biomedical Research over three years
- ASA requesting increase to $100 million for Applied Research over five years
Working to boost education programs for children with autism:
- ASA supports education plans outlined in the National Research Council's report: "Educating Children with Autism"
- ASA working with U.S. Representatives Smith and Doyle and the Coalition for Autism Research and Education
- ASA working to raise awareness about the importance of reauthorizing and fully funding IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
Working to boost services and programs for adults with autism:
- ASA supports the "Plan of Action to Address the National Crisis in Adults Services"
- ASA supports the creation of a coalition of service providers
- ASA formulating the initiative and legislation for adult services
Working with ASA chapters and disability organizations across the country:
- ASA has a network of over 200 chapters offering support and information
- ASA seeks out opportunities to form coalitions and partnerships with organizations
What is autism?
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate, to reason, and to interact with others. It is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees of severity; it is often found in combination with other disabilities.
Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects each individual differently and to varying degrees of severity.. The term autism usually refers to three of five disorders under the umbrella term Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) Autistic Disorder (classic autism) Asperger's Disorder, and PDD-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combination and to varying degrees of severity.
Autism affects an estimated 1 in 166 individuals, and as many as 1.7 million Americans (children and adults). The overall incidence is consistent around the globe, but is four times more prevalent in boys than girls. Autism knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries, and family income, lifestyle, and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism occurrence.