This year marks 10 years of progress since Autism Speaks first opened its doors in 2005. As we move into our 11th year our goal is to significantly enhance autism services in every community and push to get the groundbreaking ABLE Act, now the law of the land, implemented in all 50 states. Our dedicated field teams will be the ones heading this effort.
Thanks to the passion and generosity of our community, Autism Speaks has helped advance our understanding and treatment of autism in ways almost unimaginable ten years ago. Here's what we know now, thanks to your support:
1. Autism's prevalence has skyrocketed.
Ten years ago, autism's estimated prevalence was 1 in 166. Today it's 1 in 68 - an increase of more than 100% in one decade.
2. Direct screening suggests that autism's prevalence may be even higher.
In a landmark study funded by Autism Speaks, screeners went into schools in South Korea and found 1 in 38 children affected by autism, most of them previously undiagnosed. Autism Speaks is now working with the CDC to conduct a similar direct-screening study in the United States.
3. Autism can be reliably diagnosed by age two.
Because earlier intervention improves outcomes, Autism Speaks is redoubling our efforts to increase early screening, especially in underserved communities.
4. High-quality early intervention does more than develop skills.
Early intervention can change underlying brain development and activity. It's also cost effective as it reduces the need for educational and behavioral support in grade school and beyond.
5. Behavioral therapy for autism can transform lives.
Though children with autism vary in how far they progress with behavioral therapy, we now have solid evidence of its benefits. This has enabled Autism Speaks to successfully advocate for health coverage of behavioral health treatment, now the law in 38 states and counting. Now many families are getting desperately needed therapy that was once denied.