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According to the Centers for Disease Control, New Jersey has the highest rate of autism of any state in the nation.  Autism is a developmental disorder that affects 1 in 45 children in New Jersey and 1 in 68 children nationwide.

The DSM-V characterizes Autism Spectrum Disorder by persistent deficits in social communication and the presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior.  Autism occurs across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups and is almost five times more likely to occur amongst boys than girls.

The New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association will join with many other advocates to draw more attention to the fact that tens of thousands of people across America are facing an autism diagnosis this year.

New Jersey has some of the most alarming statistics in the nation.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting that one out of every 26 boys and one out of every 108 girls in the state are being identified with an autism spectrum disorder.  That is based on the review of health and educational records of 8-year-old children.

Suzanne Buchanan, executive director of Autism New Jersey said there are a number of reasons why New Jersey’s autism rates are so high. “Here in New Jersey we have access to both educational and health records, so if you expand the pool of kids that you’re screening, you’re going to find more kids.”  She also said “The definition of the spectrum has been expanded since those earlier prevalent studies, so now individuals with more mild social disabilities are included in that definition.”  Buchanan stressed the supposed link between vaccines and autism is not credible at all.  It has been proven to be completely and thoroughly false.

There is no known cure for autism. However, there are evidence-based treatment approaches that can significantly improve outcomes for individuals with autism.  For those families searching for autism resources, Autism Speaks Inc. has compiled a list of major New Jersey organizations to consult for help on such important subjects as early intervention, physical & speech therapies, ABA (applied behavior analysis) training, special education services and family respite.  You can contact Autism Speaks Inc. at 888-288-4762.


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