PO Box 249
San Mateo, CA 94401
Hon. Secretary Diana S. Dooley
California Health and Human Services
1600 Ninth Street, Room 460
Sacramento, CA 95814
October 6, 2014
Re: Public Comment for October 8, 2014 Developmental Services Community Task Force Meeting—Creating a Shared Understanding of the Enormity of the Autism Explosion in California, and the Sweeping Social Service Demands
Dear Honorable Secretary Dooley and Members of the Community Task Force:
We wish again to express our gratitude for your efforts to plan for community-based services to serve the more than quarter-million Californians with developmental disabilities.
Among other things, the task force is charged with examining services for the developmentally disabled in the community “in the context of a growing population.” We feel it important at this time that all stakeholders understand this phrase represents a considerable understatement, as it implies gradual and moderate increase. Instead, we have an almost-logarithmically and continually exploding population, primarily due to autism cases, that began in the early 1980s and continues unabated today.
For that reason—and to help create a foundational, shared understanding of the history and scope of this unprecedented, urgent problem entailing vastly larger social services, we provide the attached backgrounder, “72,000-and-Growing: California’s Autism Epidemic.” (Also available at sfautismsociety.org.)
Thank you for your consideration of our comments. We look forward to working with the Task Force to find innovative, robust, community-based solutions over the months and years ahead, and thank you again for your efforts.
Very truly yours,
Jill Escher President