April is Autism Awareness Month

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Did you know that Autism affects 1 in ever 110 children or that it affects 1 in every 70 boys? I did not either, until my son became one of those statistics this week as my wife and I were told our son has an Autism Spectral Disorder – Asperger syndrome. I learned this in the an unfortunate way, while away on a business trip. Needless to say, I am still trying to wrap my head around it but that has been made much easier through an outpouring of support from friends I have known for years and friends who I have only known electronically through baseball message boards, Facebook, or Twitter who either know others that have children with Autism or themselves have a child with Autism. One such individual is Maury Brown, who runs one of my favorite sites, The Biz of Baseball.  As fate would have it, shortly after getting the news from my wife, I came across this article on Maury’s site and learned that I need to think more highly of Curt Schilling that I did during his baseball career when he would kill the Devil Rays.  Maury also has a child with Autism and recently gave an interview to FullCountPitch to talk about life as a parent of a child with Autism.  Today, Maury has launched an Autism Awareness Campaign on his site and I have gladly accepted an invitation to add my name and this site to the cause to help spread the word.  (From AutismSpeaks.org):

Did you know …

  • Autism now affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys
  • Autism prevalence figures are growing
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

Prevalence vs. Private Funding

  • Leukemia: Affects 1 in 1,200 / Funding: $277 million
  • Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 100,000 / Funding: $162 million
  • Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 300 / Funding: $394 million
  • Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $156 million
  • Autism: Affects 1 in 110 / Funding: $79 million

National Institutes of Health Funds Allocation

  • Total 2009 NIH budget: $35.9 billion
  • Of this, only $196 million goes directly to autism research. This represents 0.5% of total NIH funding.

Thanks again to Maury for the invite to join his campaign and for his support as well as the support from my friends both at home and abroad this week.

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About Jason Collette

Writer/Analyst
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5 Responses to April is Autism Awareness Month

  1. Rob Kelley says:

    Hey Jason,

    I’m Rob Kelley, one of the Florida Marlins Correspondents, and I just wanted to commend you for pointing out that April is Autism Awareness Month. You are right – Autism and Aspergers have become more and more prevalent over the last two decades, and organizations such as Defeat Autism Now and Autism Speaks need all the help and support they can get. Having worked with autistic and aspergers syndrome children, I have built some bonds that will last forever. My mother is a Special Needs Teacher, and my wife and sister also work in the public school system. Kudos to you for posting this article, and may the Baseball Worlds align to have your Rays meet my Marlins in the 2010 World Series!

  2. Thanks Rob – very much appreciated. My best friend teaches an Autistic unit here in Orlando and he and his wife have already been a huge help to my family.

  3. Ian says:

    Jason,

    My son was diagnosed about 3 years ago with Aspergers – when he was in the first grade.

    For me, I have never had so many wide swings of experiences with him – from heartbreak to elation as I see him navigate his way through it all. It’s not easy, but it is hard to diminish the human spirit, regardless of what someone is working on.

    I am always surprised at the over the top nice things that people are willing to do to make things work a little better for him – the sense of community is overwhelming at times, for sure – I never thought it would be so necessary!

    An article that had probably the most profound impact on me was one written by Tim Page of the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/08/20/070820fa_fact_page) – a real perspective changer.

    Anyhow, enjoy the fact that you are in for a very unique (and trying) ride!

    Please feel free to contact me if you like – a community of support is essential for these kids and their parents.

    Ian

  4. Thanks for sharing that, Ian. That was a very good read.

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    I want to start my first website, what cms do you use and recommend for me ?

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