Norma Erickson, Contributor
There is no getting around it – Autism Spectrum Disorders have become a national health crisis of epic proportions in the United States. Autism has become everyone’s problem. If you are not yet personally affected, chances are you or a family member soon will be.
The autism spectrum is a complex developmental disorder that affects how a person behaves, interacts with others, communicates, and learns. There is no clearly defined set of symptoms, no known cause, few effective treatments, and no known cure. A diagnosis of autism presents the equivalent of a life sentence without parole to the victim and their family.
Parents of those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders have fought for decades to get someone to look for causes, treatments, and cures while medical authorities and government health officials exhibited behavior ranging from apparent lack of concern to antagonism toward the victims and their families. What is wrong with this picture?
Over the last 30 years, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the United States has exploded from 1 in 10,000 to a staggering 1 in 88. ASD includes a wide range of complex neurodevelopment disorders which vary significantly in character and severity. Autism spectrum disorders occur in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affect every age group. A study published by Harvard School of Public Health in 2006, says the cost of caring for one person with autism over the course of his or her lifetime is about $3.2 million.
This year alone, approximately 46,000 children will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder – that’s more than pediatric AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and childhood cancer combined.
Can anything be done to help these 46,000 children and their families? Perhaps there is hope on the horizon.
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform exists based on two fundamental principles:
- Americans have a right to know that the money Washington takes from them is well spent.
- Americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them.
According to the committee’s mission statement,
Our duty on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is to protect these rights. Our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers, because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. We will work tirelessly, in partnership with citizen-watchdogs, to deliver the facts to the American people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy.
29 November 2012, this committee held a hearing (1 in 88 Children: A Look Into the Federal Response to Rising Rates of Autism) to get a clearer picture of what is being done, what questions still need to be answered and what needs exist for those children, adults and families who live with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
After sworn testimony by representatives from the National Institute of Health and the CDC was presented to the panel, Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the U.S. House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, opened with a question thousands of parents have been asking for decades,
Does autism predate all vaccines? In other words, was there autism before vaccines?
The best answer he could obtain from the ‘experts’ was that “it (autism) probably existed before, just no one noticed the pattern.”
- How did autism rates progress from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 88 so rapidly?
- Why is autism NOT classified as a public health crisis?
- What causes autism?
- Why did it take 2 minutes worth of repeating the same question for the CDC representative to admit they have never conducted a study on the vaccinated versus unvaccinated?
- Why were African children autism-free prior to the introduction of vaccines?
- Is it safe to say no potential cause of autism can be ruled out?
- If vaccines are such a benefit to public health, why does the United States recommend more vaccines than any other country in the world yet rank 34th in infant mortality?
- How much has the CDC relied on the research of Dr. Paul Thorsen to demonstrate there is no link between vaccines and autism?
- Why has neither the NIH nor the CDC considered listening to parents’ accounts of their child’s autism development?
- Why have vaccines not been investigated as a potential contributing factor in the rise of autism rates?
- How much taxpayer money has been spent on wasted research?
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members are absolutely right! Medical consumers throughout the United States deserve answers to all of these questions and more. These legislators should be congratulated for their efforts to make sure the problem of autism is examined from all angles.
This committee wants to hear from you. This committee needs to hear from you. They are holding the testimony open for 7 days from the date of the hearing so families affected by autism and advocacy organizations have an opportunity submit statements that will be included in the final record.
If you are concerned about the rapid rise in autism spectrum diagnoses, please visit this site. You can listen to the entire oral testimony, access written transcripts, and submit your comments via this page.
Your government representatives are providing an opportunity for you to voice your concerns. If your family has been affected by autism, tell your story. If you are a medical professional treating the autistic, explain how autism affects your medical practice. If you represent a group that works with the autistic, submit your testimony.
The choice is yours – be a part of the solution, or be a part of the problem.
If you wish to contact any members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the membership list is here.
The SaneVax Team would also encourage you to contact your local, state and federal elected representatives. Make sure they are aware of just how critical the autism epidemic is to the communities they represent. Ask them to join the effort to obtain answers before it is too late.