Message from the President of the Autism Society of Santa Barbara
April 23, 2013
By Marcia J. Eichelberger
April is National Autism Awareness Month and, according to the CDC, one in every 88 children now has an autism spectrum disorder. California Department of Developmental Services data reveals that in 1987, fewer than 2,800 individuals statewide had autism. Today, there are more than 72,000 people with autism statewide, and more than 90 percent of them are age 21 or younger.
The state of California continues to study the prevalence of autism and explore how best to address the costs of necessary programs. The Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Education and the California Legislature all sponsor task forces to examine these issues, yet the questions continue to outpace the answers.
As a society, we must step up our commitment to provide effective, evidence based interventions for people with autism. Every parent and agency serving our community must work jointly and cohesively to develop appropriate programs for both our children and adults with autism. The time for action is now.
The Autism Society of America designated April Autism Awareness Month in 1972, when the prevalence rate was less than 1 in 10,000, and autism was rarely mentioned and generally considered untreatable. Today, this observance provides an opportunity for the Autism Society, its state affiliates, and others in the autism community to continue educating the public. The catastrophically high — and continually increasing — rate of autism among all racial, ethnic and social groups highlights our ongoing need for education, particularly regarding early diagnosis of this complex developmental disorder.
Autism is only effectively tackled by the strong-willed and the strong-minded, those too stubborn to give up or give in. For most, a path to success comes only after many years of self-education and advocacy. Toward that end, Autism Society of Santa Barbara is proud to announce that we are teaming up with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department to bring autism-specific safety training to our Santa Barbara County first responders, free of charge, on April 25. A second training that evening, sponsored by the Autism Society, will focus on training parents, school district employees and agency personnel, on how to keep individuals with autism safe in their homes, at school and in the community.
Autism Society of Santa Barbara is the only organization focused specifically on autism that provides local support and resources for individuals and families throughout the county. Through our four pillars of Advocacy, Awareness, Education and Support, we dedicate ourselves to empowering people to succeed in living with autism.
During this month of worldwide recognition for autism spectrum disorders, please remember that a spectrum comprises countless colors, shades, and intensities of light. Our loved ones on the autism spectrum all shine brightly with their own hues and palettes, each distinct, yet none less essential to the beauty of the whole. Let us commit ourselves anew to recognizing, honoring, and including every member of our community — not just in April, throughout the year — because each new shade we add enhances all the others.
Marcia J. Eichelberger is president of the Autism Society of Santa Barbara.
April 10, 2013
The Autism Society, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots autism organization, has chosen Pittsburgh as the host city of its 44th annual conference on autism spectrum disorders.
April 5, 2013
Individuals with autism can attend the Autism Society National Conference and Exposition (in Pittsburgh) for FREE this year! Learn more: www.autism-society.org/conference.
April 3, 2013
Monarch Teaching Technologies, the makers of VizZle®, web-based educational software for visual learners with autism, will give one-year of free VizZle to every new (or renewing) Champion Member during April.
April 2, 2013
Read the Autism Society’s digital magazine about autism spectrum disorders!
April 2, 2013
Today, throughout the world, individuals will come together highlighting the needs and dreams of people living with autism.