We're Aware Already!

Year after year, we keep hearing the same message: Autism Awareness, Autism Awareness... I think that at this point, we are already aware and it is time to tell people what to do with their awareness! With highly effective commercials supported by a large number of well-meaning celebrities, the autism community has done a great job publicizing autism to the public. Now what? Here’s a blueprint for the next phase:

1) Get every pediatrician and family physician to screen for autism at eighteen months of age.

In order to meet the goal of early autism screening for every child, there should be a concerted effort on the part of the autism awareness folks i.e. Autism Speaks, to make sure that a) every medical student who will be either a family physician or pediatrician knows how to use the CHecklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT), and b) there is a call out to all family physicians and pediatricians already working in the medical field to take ten minutes out of the well child check up to administer the CHAT. It is hard to believe, however, that even in 2011 members of the pediatric community are against routine screening!!! If the Autism Awareness folks want to make sure that all children in the entire society (and ultimately the world) are screened early, they need to win the hearts and minds of the pediatric community. In other words, the pediatric community is already aware; many of their members just don’t agree...

2) Stop being so politically correct in terms of treatment choices

It is time for the Autism Speaks folk to publicize the fact that:
The U.S. Surgeon General has recognized Intensive Behavioral Treatment as best practices for autism treatment since 1999 (that was twelve years ago)!
b) New York State has also recognized Intensive Behavioral Treatment as
best practices since 1999 (that was twelve years ago)!
c) Over 50% of
states in the U.S. have passed autism mandates forcing insurance companies to pay for treatment!

Once the movers and shakers i.e. the well funded charities, in the autism community recognize the above facts, only then will we be able to move beyond awareness into early intensive behavioral treatment for all the children who desperately need it!

What are we waiting for?