Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spotlight on Sinergia's Autism Initiative

April is National Autism Awareness Month but for Sinergia's Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiative it's a year round process. The program began in 2008 with funding from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Its aim is to provide outreach to underserved families of children with autism, particularly Latino parents who are not proficient in English. The project provides outreach, information dissemination, workshops and support groups.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders affect four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. On March 29, 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the prevalence of children in the United States with autism has increased. The newly-released statistics suggest one in 88 children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, up from one in 110 in 2009. The CDC has called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

Zachary Warren, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Vanderbilt University, stresses the need for effective, early identification and treatment of autism. “The new CDC data is the best evidence we have to date that autism is a very common disorder. While recent estimates have varied, we have always known the individual, familial, educational and societal costs that go along with autism are tremendous,” Warren said. “We are now seeing autism in more than 1 percent of the population, which highlights how challenging it will be for systems of care to meet service needs.”

For more information on Sinergia's Autism Initiative contact Gina Pena-Campodonico at 212-643-2840 ext. 305. 

Additional reading:
USA Today: As Autism becomes more common, doctors say check early
Fox: Autism Rates Higher Among Latino Children, CDC Finds
CNN: Searching for the why behind rising autism rate

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