top of page
Cameramen Lined Up

PRESS KIT

The Autism Society of Florida is the state’s leading autism advocacy organization supporting people with autism, families and professionals

1 in 36 Children have autism

High Resolution Copy of Logo

Read the latest legislation to watch

Press Release: Autism Society of America Celebrates Differences for Autism Acceptance Month 

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and the Autism Society of Florida is part of a national organization that offers Programs for Safety, Employment, and Social Issues. 

Rockville, MD, March 18, 2024— This April, the Autism Society of America is inviting the Autism community to be the connection to resources, acceptance, and each other. Autism Acceptance Month kicks off on April 1st, and the Autism Society celebrates the varied experiences within the Autism community and highlights the critical need for us to turn acceptance into action.  

Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States with increasing prevalence rates continuing to create the urgent need for equitable supports and services. 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with Autism, which can be attributed to a variety of factors, primarily improved diagnostic screening and identification, as well as an increased prevalence rate itself. 

“Autism Acceptance Month provides us with an opportunity to take action through acceptance to provide the Autism community with the supports, services, and resources needed,“  states Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. “The Autism Society has continued to develop strategic initiatives that break down systemic barriers, and creates more equitable solutions through programs like Safety on the Spectrum, Employment, and the Autism Justice Center.” 

 

The Autism Society’s Safety on the Spectrum programs include a focus on First Responder training, Water Safety and Wandering prevention, and further deliverables in support of the Kevin & Avonte Law. In addition to safety, employment and social justice issues programs, including the Autism Justice Center, our health equity priorities expanded our Vaccine Education Initiative to address systemic barriers and promotes vaccine education, confidence and access. Lastly, the Autism Society offers a National Helpline which provides information and referral services to connect the community to the resources they need – our nationwide network of helplines support more than 130,000 people per year. 

As a part of our #CelebrateDifferences theme, which highlights the infinite ways in which people experience life and how we can take action to provide the support that’s needed, the Autism Society will travel nationwide to collect community stories with our “Road to Acceptance” project.  This mobile video studio will engage community members to reflect on acts of acceptance, moments of challenges, and opportunities for greater inclusion. Stay tuned for more information about this campaign as it kicks off.  

 

 

About the Autism Society of America 

The Autism Society of America is dedicated to creating connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully.  As the nation’s oldest leading grassroots Autism organization, the Autism Society and its approximately 70 affiliates serve over half a million people each year. By championing initiatives that advance equitable opportunities in healthcare, education, employment, safety, and public policy, the organization executes a national reach, with meaningful local impact. Through education, advocacy, support and community programming, the Autism Society works towards a world in which everyone is connected to the support they need, when they need it. 

The ADDM Network Details Autism Prevalence Rate Increases to 1 in 36 Children.

Rockville, MD, March 23, 2023 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released two new reports from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) network detailing prevalence rates, characteristics, and screening and diagnostic information. As a CDC partner, the Autism Society of America routinely reviews these reports to disseminate information, educate the greater community, and advocate for critical policy changes that ensure everyone in the Autism community has access to the resources they need to live fully. Today, the CDC reports a continued increase in the prevalence rate with one in 36 children receiving an Autism diagnosis.

Increasing prevalence estimates continue to underscore the urgent need for equitable supports and services in the Autism community. The increase to 1 in 36 eight-year-olds being diagnosed from the 2021 report of 1 in 44 eight-year-olds, can be attributed to a variety of factors, including an increased rate of diagnosis itself. This means that while diagnostic screening and identification are improving in some ways, the prevalence rate is also increasing.

The early identification report demonstrates that for the first time, the percentage of 8-year-old Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and Black children identified with Autism was higher than among 8-year-old White children. This change effectively closes the racial and ethnic gap which was observed and reported in previous ADDM reports. These shifts may reflect improved screening, awareness, and access to services among historically underserved groups.  

“The Autism Society and its network of affiliates have been working to close the racial disparity gap in early screening and diagnosis through education, resource development, and community programming to better support these underserved populations,” states Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. “It’s important to recognize this improvement, however, the increased prevalence rates means we urgently need increased access to quality supports and services at the federal and state level.”

While there have been improvements in early Autism identification over time, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted progress to have an overall increase in screening efforts. The data reflects that screening of four-year-olds was initially on-track to show increased results of early detection, but was abruptly halted in March 2020 and has struggled to recover; this has resulted in long waitlists to receive timely screening and diagnosis, as well as delaying the opportunity to connect to essential early interventions and supports.

Children who receive an Autism diagnosis by age 4, are more likely to receive services that lead to improved long-term outcomes. This confirms the need to urgently increase our capability to screen and effectively diagnose children as early as possible; the Autism Society recommends that children be screened at least three times before age three (9, 18, and 24 or 30 months), so that they can be referred for services to have the best chance of success to live fully. 

The Autism Society of America, like the CDC, supports early identification as one of the most important tools communities have in helping to make a difference in the lives of children with Autism. The CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program promotes early identification by providing parents, childcare professionals, and healthcare providers free resources, in English and Spanish, for monitoring children’s development. Additionally, the Autism Society has updated resources as part of our 2023 Autism Acceptance Month campaign that provides digestible facts and statistics about Autism.

Screen Shot 2023-03-23 at 11.18.25 PM.png

Established in 2000, the ADDM Network is the only network to track the number and characteristics of Autistic children and other developmental disabilities in multiple communities throughout the United States. This data provides important information from which researchers, policymakers, and service providers are able to make important decisions about how to best serve these individuals and their families. However, it is important to note that these estimates are based on 8-year-old children living in 11 community sites, and do not reflect the entire population of children in the United States. The Autism Society has continuously urged the CDC to increase its population data by expanding the number of sites and diversity of populations. Learn more about the ADDM sites here. 

See the full prevalence and early identification reports published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on the CDC website. 

Visit this website to learn more about autism and screening and diagnosis

National Statement: Autism Society Addresses Increased Autism Prevalence Rates in 2023 CDC Report | Autism Society

  

  1. Autism in the US impacts 1 in 36 children currently. Fifty years ago, this rate was 2 to 4 children per 10,000.

  2. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

  3. Average age of autism diagnosis is 4-5 years old.

  4. 37.9% of people with autism have average or above-average intellectual ability.

  5. 35-40% of those with autism have epilepsy (seizures)

  6. Approximately 25% of individuals with autism don’t verbally communicate.

  7. ASD is reported to occur across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

  8. The exact causes of autism are not known, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

  9. There are 57,630 students in Florida public schools with the ASD eligibility. This does not include those in private school or who are homeschooled.

  10. Children with autism are 160 times more likely to drown.

  11. 85-90% of adults with autism are under or unemployed.

  12. Approximately 70% have at least one co-occurring condition, such as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, etc

We need safeguards in place

Mother distraught over alleged abuse of 5-year-old son by teacher’s aide at Dania Beach school

DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Ahilyn Zamora’s five-year-old son, Jaylin, used to love school, enjoying writing his name and engaging in activities like coloring in books. However, that changed when he confided in his mother about an alarming situation at Collins Elementary in Dania Beach.
https://wsvn.com/news/local/broward/mother-distraught-over-alleged-abuse-of-5-year
-old-son-by-teachers-aide-at-dania-beach-school/?fbclid=IwAR0MhzUD7jdI1vxRqDUjM_5dPJsaPRzSzAsy5PTSFV0MF-lP4IiMj1NYhGw
bottom of page