Commentary from May Institute and National Autism Center Regarding One in 50 School Kids Has Autism, CDC Says


Randolph, Mass. – A new estimate released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism. While prevalence rates continue to be debated and the cause(s) for the increases remain elusive, we must not lose sight of the critical realities this upward trend emphatically underscores.

The sheer volume these data represent – at least one million U.S. children have autism, not to mention the rapidly growing number of adults with autism – is staggering. What this survey makes clear is that an even greater percentage of the population needs immediate, effective treatment and related services today – not six months, a year, or five years from now.

The new data should serve as a further catalyst for removing barriers that inhibit immediate access to these specialized services. It has never been more critical to get credible information about effective, evidence-based treatment options into the hands of families, enabling them to make time-sensitive, well informed treatment decisions.

Delays in diagnosis – be they the result of lack of capacity, resources, or education – are all too common. There are still too many children on wait lists at diagnostic clinics and/or seeking access to appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis (as early as 18 months) can and should lead to early and intensive intervention, which we know is vital to a child’s long-term success.

Lost time translates to compromised futures for our communities’ children, adolescents, and adults with autism; a legacy that no generation wants to have on its watch. Let us all – educators, legislators, service providers, and caregivers – redouble our resolve to take the necessary actions to eliminate obstacles to long-term success for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Hanna Rue, Ph.D., BCBA-D                   Lauren C. Solotar, Ph.D., ABPP
Executive Director                                   President and CEO
National Autism Center                          May Institute

About May Institute
Founded in 1955, May Institute has its roots in a family’s vision of enabling children with special needs to lead the fullest lives possible. Today, May Institute provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and behavioral health needs.

About the National Autism Center
The National Autism Center is May Institute’s Center for the Promotion of Evidence-based Practice. It is dedicated to serving children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders by providing reliable information, promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive resources for families, practitioners, and communities.
An advocate for evidence-based treatment approaches, the National Autism Center identifies effective programming and shares practical information with families about how to respond to the challenges they face. The Center also conducts applied research and develops training and service models for practitioners. Finally, the Center works to shape public policy concerning ASD and its treatment through the development and dissemination of national standards of practice.

For more information, please call 877.313.3833 or visit
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