Monday, May 14, 2007
Autism Crisis - Australia
ABC is reporting on an Australian study which indicates that autism is costing Australia [ Population 20,823,333, May 14 07, Australian Bureau of Statistics] up to $7 billion a year; a reflection of a 10 fold increase in rates of Autism and Aspergers. Dr. James Morton of Autism Early Intervention Outcomes Unit says the problem has caught government unawares. Apparently the Australian government is as oblivious to the realities of autism as the Canadian government. Maybe Roy Grinker, Kristina Chew and others can offer some soothing anthropological perspective and some new literary metaphors to assist the Australian families who are struggling to help their autistic children acquire basic language and life skills.
<span style="font-weight:bold;">Autism costing Aust up to $7b: report
A new report has found the treatment of autism and related conditions such as Asperger syndrome are costing the Australian economy up to $7 billion a year.
It was commissioned by Dr James Morton, one of the founders of the Autism Early Intervention Outcomes Unit.
Dr Morton says the report's release in Brisbane today has been timed to mark the start of Autism Awareness Week.
"It's really gone under the radar. It's exploded in the last 10 years. Some of the studies suggests that the incidence has increased 10-fold in the last decade," he said.
"I think that is why it's caught government unawares. It wasn't anywhere near the problem it is now 10 years ago."
Dr Morton says the official response to the rising incidence of autism has been too little, too late.
"I hope that this study brings [autism] to the community's attention and leads to funding for early detection and early intervention, which makes an enormous difference and is very under-funded in this country," he said.
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I don't know how you feel when hearing how much autism costs to the budget, but I don't feel well. It seems to me that autistic people are regarded as a burden to the society, rather as human beings like everybody else. After all, the budget exists so that those who can produce fill it and those who can't, for the moment or for their entire lives, are supported by it. It is what civilization is about.
Personally I feel that we have to address the realities of autism, hence my username AutismRealityNB. Talking about financial realities or the challenges faced by families living with autistic children or the challenges and dangers that many of those children faced does not deny their humanity. It simply denies the rose colored glasses perspective of autism offered up by some.
The realities included the costs of institutional and residential care for some with autism. As a parent I feel obligated to help my son now to the best of my ability. It does not help the humanity of severely autistic children like my son if parents ignore those realities until it is too late to help their children.
That is how I feel about it.
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