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News Release: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on National Autism Awareness Month

News Release
April 2, 2013
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on National Autism Awareness Month

Every April during National Autism Awareness Month, we recognize the special challenges faced by those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and refocus our efforts on the best ways to support them and their families.
Autism is a developmental disability characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) leave no doubt that autism is a critical public health issue that deeply affects the lives of millions of Americans.
Research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), CDC, and HRSA has advanced our understanding of risk factors underlying the development of ASD as well as supported the development and effective deployment of tools for early detection and intervention. Screening at younger ages is increasingly helping children to get the most effective treatments as soon as possible.
Today, NIH announced it has awarded $5.3 million in initial funding to two new recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program. Eleven ACE centers around the country are now funded to support collaborative, multi-disciplinary science aimed at exploring the causes and identifying the most effective treatments for ASDs.
There is also a growing understanding of the significant needs people with ASD face, including support for education, employment and housing to allow them to fully participate in community life. Through the recent formation of the Administration for Community Living, the Department of Health and Human Services has strengthened its commitment to maximizing health, well-being, and independence for those with ASD and their families and caregivers.
The Affordable Care Act also is helping to meet the health care needs of those on the autism spectrum. Because of the health care law, insurers are not allowed to exclude children with autism based on their pre-existing condition. Beginning in 2014, it will be illegal for an insurer to discriminate against anyone because of a pre-existing condition or to charge more because of it. Also because of the health care law, children are now able to remain on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26. For young adults with autism and their families, that means more options and greater peace of mind.
Among the preventive services that health insurance plans must now cover with no out-of-pocket cost is autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months.
This month, let us renew our efforts to make advances through research and effective services and supports that will enhance the lives of the people and families—our children, friends, and neighbors—who struggle every day with autism.

Autism Information

Autism – or more precisely the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) – represents a broad group of developmental disorders characterized by impaired social interactions, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors, or severely limited activities and interests.


General Information
Signs & Symptoms
Screening & Diagnosis
Causes, Risk Factors, & Prevalence
Research & Clinical Trials

General Info

General Information

The Affordable Care Act and Autism and Related Conditions
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Facts from the CDC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers facts about autism, types of ASDs, signs and symptoms.
Autism Spectrum Disorders from the NIMH – The National Institute of Mental Health offers general information about Autism.
Autism Information from the NINDS – The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers general information on autism.
Autism Information from the NHGRI – The National Human Genome Research Institute offers general information about autism and its symptoms.
Autism from Medline Plus – The National Library of Medicine offers general information about autism.
CDC estimates 1 in 88 children in United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder
Signs & Symptoms

ASDs begin before the age of three and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.

Learn more about symptoms

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) – CDC autism spectrum disorder signs and symptoms include examples of the range of symptoms, possible ‘red flags’, social skill issues, communication skill issues, and other indicators.
Checklist of development skills – CDC Developmental skills web site has an interactive milestones checklist.
NIMH Autism Indicators – National Institute of Mental Health autism indicators.
NHGRI autism symptoms – National Human Genome Research Institute information on symptoms.
Autism Symptoms – Medline Plus information about signs and symptoms.
Screening & Diagnosis

Diagnosing ASDs can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis. ASDs can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age two, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable.

Learn more about screening and diagnosis

Autism Screening and Diagnosis – CDC Autism Spectrum Disorder screening and diagnosis information.
Screening and Diagnosis for Healthcare Providers – CDC developmental screening and diagnostic tools.
Exams and tests – Medline Plus information about exams and tests.

There is no single best treatment for all children with ASDs. There are many different types of treatments available, such as: auditory training, discrete trial training, vitamin therapy, anti-yeast therapy, facilitated communication, music therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and sensory integration.

Learn more about treatments

Autism Treatments – CDC information on early intervention services, types of treatments, behavior and communication approaches, dietary approaches, and medication.
How is ASD Treated? – Information from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Treatment – Medline Plus information on treatments.
Causes, Risk Factors, & Prevalence

We do not know all of the causes of ASDs. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASDs. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.

Learn more about causes, risk factors, and prevalence

Causes and Risk Factors – CDC information on causes and risk factors.
Is autism inherited – National Human Genome Research Institute information on genetics and autism.
Understanding Risk Factors and Causes – CDC research on risk factors and causes.
Data & Statistics – CDC information on prevalence, risk factors, and characteristics, and economic costs associated with autism.
Relationship of vaccines and autism

Vaccines and autism – CDC information on vaccines and autism.
General Questions and Answers on Thimerosal – CDC information on vaccines that contain thimerosal.
Thimerosal in Vaccines – FDA information includes safety review of vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders
Thimerosal in Vaccines Questions and Answers – FDA information discusses reports examining vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders
Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism – Institute of Medicine report on vaccines and autism
Mercury and Vaccines (Thimerosal)[DHHS1] – CDC information on thimerosal (preservative) found in vaccines and autism.
Relationship of vaccines and autism – CDC information on the relationship between vaccines and autism.
Vaccine Safety – CDC information on monitoring health problems after vaccination identifies possible vaccine side effects.
Research & Clinical Trials

Several government agencies are involved in activities related to autism research.

CDC Features: Autism Research – Overview of the CDC’s Study to Explore Early Development (SEED)
NIH Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) – NIH supports the ACE program, which comprises 11 research centers and networks at major research institutions and universities across the country. The program focuses on research to identify the causes of ASD and develop new and improved treatments.
Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network – CDC funded programs to determine the number of people with autism.
Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) – CDC established regional centers of excellence for autism and other developmental disabilities.
Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) – CDC funded study in the United States to help identify risk factors that may put children at risk for autism and other developmental disabilities.
Autism Clinical Trials – National Institutes of Health ClinicalTrials.gov Website that catalogs results for autism clinical trials.
HRSA: Combating Autism Act – programs address some of the most urgent issues affecting people with autism and their families: increasing awareness; reducing barriers to screening and diagnosis; supporting research; promoting evidence-based guidelines; and training professionals.
Autism and the Recovery Act – Recovery Act funding is helping HHS accelerate autism spectrum disorder research in promising areas like screening, early detection, and potential interventions, while also exploring the causes and mechanisms underlying this disorder.

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Publications

The Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006 (Public Law 109-416, PDF – 49KB) requires the IACC to develop and annually update a Strategic Plan for ASD research. Each year, the members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) identify recent research findings that made the most impact on the field. The Strategic Plan is an advisory document to the U.S. Congress, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding the needs and opportunities for ASD research.

IACC Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Research, 2012 Update
Report on State Services to Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ASD Services Project (PDF, [883.94KB]) – The report assesses the implementation of evidence-based/promising practices through the lens of state experience. The report summarizes the current state of Autism Spectrum Disorder-related services in nine representative states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. It describes the types of services and supports provided under the auspices of state and local governments; the sources of funding for those programs; and the policy, staffing, and implementation issues that must be addressed to effectively serve persons with ASD.
Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (PDF [5.9 MB]) – Some medical and behavioral treatments show promise for reducing certain behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders, but more research is needed to assess the potential benefits and harms, according to a new report funded by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Autism Organizations – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke list of autism organizations
Autism Web sites – CDC maintained links to other Web sites including those for families, financial resources for health care, assistive technology, healthcare providers, early intervention, educators, researchers, public and restricted-use data sets, and federal resources.
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee – Coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism spectrum disorder to combat autism through research, screening, intervention and education.

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee


Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Research – 2012 Update

2010 IACC Autism Spectrum Disorder
Research Portfolio Analysis Report

Portfolio Analysis Web Tool

IACC Publications

Non-IACC Reports
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) is a Federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Through its inclusion of both Federal and public members, the IACC helps to ensure that a wide range of ideas and perspectives are represented and discussed in a public forum.

The IACC mission is to:

Provide advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding Federal activities related to autism spectrum disorder.

Facilitate the exchange of information on and coordination of ASD activities among the member agencies and organizations.

Increase public understanding of the member agencies’ activities, programs, policies, and research by providing a public forum for discussions related to ASD research and services.
IACC meetings are open to the public and include presentations and discussions on a variety of topics, including activities and projects of the IACC, recent advances in science and autism policy issues. A portion of each meeting is reserved for public comment. A summary of each meeting is posted on the meetings & events page.



Most of the information you will see comes from some Federal/state Government documents or Federal/State Governm Agency. -----------------------------------------------The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it. ~~~~Will Rogers __The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.~ Albert Einstein ~"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understandingsharpen​ed, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment".~___________________________________ George Washington, Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland, December 2, 1783 Fredericacade@gmail.com


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