OMRDD Takes Part in United Nations World Focus on Autism
NEW YORK, NY (09/26/2008; 1506)(readMedia)-- Representatives from the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) marked the opening of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly in collaboration with an international call to attention to the global concern of autism.
OMRDD’s Executive Leadership, Executive Deputy Commissioner Max Chmura, Dr. W. Ted Brown, director of OMRDD’s Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) in Staten Island and Dr. Eric London, Head of the Autism Treatment Laboratory at IBR, attended the event earlier today, in support of, and preparation for, World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2009.
The United Nations World Focus on Autism event, held at the United Nations Millennium Hotel, was hosted by Suzanne Wright co-founder of Autism Speaks, and moderated by Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent.
IBR is recognized worldwide as a leader in autism research. In May, IBR scientists were awarded a $1.9 million program project grant from the federal Department of Defense Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Program (ASDERP) that is funding a first-of-its kind study to examine how autism changes the brain throughout life. In addition, IBR recently took part in the International Meeting For Autism Research (IMFAR), held in London, where scientists presented to a worldwide audience of peers. IBR has also partnered with many global autism awareness and research organizations such as Autism Speaks, Cure Autism Now, Queens University in Ontario, Canada and the National Alliance for Autism Research. Dr. London serves on the board of Autism Speaks and chairs several committees; Dr. Brown serves on the Autism Speaks scientific grant review board, among others.
“I am pleased to have represented this agency and New York State at this prestigious event,” said Chmura. “New York State and OMRDD has been recognized as international leaders in the autism field through our progressive Autism Platform, as well as through IBR’s cutting-edge research that contributes to the treatment of the disorder. We are proud to have been invited to collaborate in this way.”
World Autism Awareness Day
On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, which declares as April 2 World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). The WAAD resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the developmental challenges they face.
OMRDD’s Autism Initiatives
In response to the growing autism crisis, OMRDD created a comprehensive autism platform in May 2008 to combat autism on multiple fronts: research and training, treatment and family and individual supports.
The autism platform encompasses several key initiatives, including the newly created Autism Consortium and Interagency Task Force on Autism. The Autism Consortium will allow OMRDD to better address the needs of individuals with autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) by pooling research and treatment resources.
The Interagency Task Force on Autism calls on a team of state agencies, who support children and adults with autism, to work collaboratively to provide services and supports and guide the implementation of the autism platform. The task force will be co-chaired by OMRDD and the State Education Department.
The OMRDD Autism platform consists of:
→ Increasing research;
→ Translating research results into improved treatment options;
→ Uniting public, private and nonprofit interests to establish statewide research, evaluation and treatment capacity;
→ Networking across State Government to create a “People First” system of comprehensive services; and
→ Providing information to families.
ASDs are on the rise nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that within some communities, ASD now affects one in every 150 children. OMRDD currently supports more than 16,000 people in New York State with autism or ASDs.
The New York State Autism Consortium, under the leadership of OMRDD’s research arm, IBR, has created an autism “brain trust” in New York State, gathering many of the state’s finest scientific minds to collectively research, treat and address autism and ASDs.
OMRDD supports more than 120,000 people with developmental disabilities; of whom 16,000 people in New York State have autism or ASDs. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the development of social interaction and communication and by repetitive and/or ritualistic behaviors. Studies have shown a substantial increase in children diagnosed with autism over the past 10 to 20 years; approximately 1 in 150 births. Autism could impact an estimated 4 million Americans in the next decade.
The Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) provides high-quality services, supports and advocacy to approximately 120,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. OMRDD works with a network of nearly 800 not-for-profit providers to help people with developmental disabilities lead richer lives that include meaningful relationships, good health, personal growth and productivity and homes in their communities.