When I heard Amee planned to dedicate a series of posts to autism awareness throughout the month of April, I thought it was a great idea. In America, April is National Autism Awareness Month, and April 2nd is designated as World Autism Awareness Day. With the apparent increase of this condition in America to a now 1 in 88 children, it is important to understand every detail about autism. Whether one argues about the cause of the increase, whether it is real or not, there are few reasonable people who should think autism will have little impact on America.
In order to stop this increase in the incidence of autism, scientific research is needed to discover the factors related to autism. This research should cover every aspect of the condition from detailed views of anatomy down to the biochemical processes within the cells of the body. Additionally, epidemiology studies are needed to investigate the numerous associations reported for autism without being influenced by funding sources with other motives.
Currently, I lead a team of 110 PhD senior scientists, post-doctoral fellows, laboratory managers and laboratory technicians. I can tell you beyond the brilliant capabilities of this team, the scientific community as a whole is fully willing to conduct research in autism and stands ready. Research into conditions like autism, however, costs hundreds of millions of dollars before significant headway is often made. Well, the good thing is even if you do not have that much money, unless you were one of the recent Mega Millions winners, research still starts with you!
Yes, you heard me correctly. Research starts with individual citizens who raise awareness of autism throughout their communities. Funding of research starts with your personal donations to organizations that support autism research. There are many of these out there. Research also starts when you write to your Congressional Representatives about autism and the huge financial burden it places on America and the need to discover ways to reduce the increase and prevalence of autism. Representatives listen, and if you doubt that, try writing to your Representative today. While you could possibly not receive a response this April, you will receive one eventually. No single Representative has the ability to make the necessary changes to end the spread of Autism, but when teams of Representatives join a cause to tackle an issue, then committees get formed and funding of research occurs in large amounts. The whole process depends on your initiation!
April is the month when you can start to make a difference in the lives of those who live with autism. April is the month when you can spread awareness of autism to those around you. Let April be only the start, because autism awareness needs to be a continued effort to mount the significant pressure needed for change.
Only you hold the solution to the Puzzle!