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Full report available at http://www.sfautismsociety.org/uploads/1/1/7/4/11747519/autism_rising_2015.pdf
New Report: Adult Autism to Triple in California in Next Ten Years
There are currently 76,000 citizens with more severe forms of autism in the state of California, representing a 28-fold increase since 1987, according to a new report released today by the Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area. The full report, based on data from the California Department of Developmental Services, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Department of Education, can be found at sfautismsociety.org. PDF here.
Other key findings of the report, called "Autism Rising," include:
* Every year, nearly 5,000 new autism cases enter the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) system.
* 1.2% of all male births in California in 2008 were diagnosed with autism and deemed eligible for inclusion in the DDS system, which admits only cases of substantial disability.
* As a result of the steep escalation in autism cases, adult autism rates in California will double in the next five years and triple over the next ten.
“The issues faced by our community today in terms of an insufficiency of resources to meet the widely diverse needs of individuals with autism will be amplified three-fold in the next ten years,” said Carrie Molho, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Clinical Manager at San Andreas Regional Center, a Bay Area DDS-contracted agency that funds services for the developmentally disabled. Dr. Molho also emphasizes that while diagnostic shifts or better awareness have been suggested as causes for the rapid rise of cases, “those factors only account for a small percentage of the overall increases seen.”
The report calls for structural reform and increased funding for all areas of services for the burgeoning population of disabled autistic children and adults, individuals who exhibit severe functional, communication, behavioral and social limitations and require ongoing care and support.
Carrie Molho, PhD
ASD and Clinical Manager
San Andreas Regional Center
(Can speak as one of the chief diagnosticians in the area that the increase in autism counts in the developmental services system is not an artifact of better awareness or shifting diagnosis.)
(Can speak to growing population of young autistic adults exiting the school system and the lack of preparedness of our adult system to meet their intensive needs.)
Former Executive Director
Morgan Autism Center
(Can speak as someone who has served the local autism community for more than three decades to the dramatic increases in autism she has seen during that period and the lack of capacity in the adult system.)
Morgan Autism Center
(Can speak to the severity of the capacity constraints in providing support and programs to autistic adults. His adult program is “bursting at the seams” without resources to expand.)
Harambee Kinship Center
(Can speak to the profound difficulties of providing services to autistic adults with severe disruptive and aggressive behaviors, the systemic underfunding and fragmentation of the system, and the lack of planning.)
Alameda County Developmental Disabilities Council
(Can speak to need to bolster faltering developmental services system in our area after years of underfunding.)