World Autism Awareness Day

MGN Online
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 12:57pm

Today marks World Autism Awareness Day.

There has been a 30% increase in children with autism over the past two years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports one in 68 children may be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Jesse Mojica is the father of a child who has autism, and Liz Feld is president of 'Autism Speaks.' They stress the importance of getting treatment and what is being done to make it affordable for everyone.

Mojica says, "Initially, I didn't know what to accept and I went to the doctor, the doctor initially was trying to say that I was a nervous father, that boys talk late. I knew the doctor was wrong, I felt in my heart that the doctor was wrong and we changed doctors and then we-over a period of four to five months and getting into early intervention, got a diagnosis of autism. Was I in denial about it? No i wasn't. For me, it was I just didn't know anything about it and i felt powerless. My wife and I felt powerless. The message today is that the earlier that you can find out what your child has you know a diagnosis, the sooner you can get essential therapies and services that could change your child's life."

Feld says, "Everybody in this country should have access to Affordable Health Care and affordable treatment. A lot of our advocacy work over the last nine years has been to get insurance reformed in every single state. We've got 34 states now so that behavioral therapies and treatments are covered and reimbursed. It is 60,000 dollars a year for a family out of pocket to treat a child or adult with autism treatment and that's just simply unaffordable for anybody, it's a second mortgage. So we have been doing advocacy at the state and federal level to make sure that any parent who needs access to therapy for a child can get it."

"Autism Speaks" has a global "Light It Up Blue" campaign. They say people can go out and get a blue lightbulb and put it on their front porch to show your support. State capitals and landmarks will also go blue today to celebrate the autism community.


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