Source: Star Ledger -
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4th) said when he was elected to Congress in 1980, the autism prevalence rate in United States was 3 out of 10,000.
On the heels of new data released last week by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention that showed the prevalence rate has increased to 1 in every 68 American children and 1 in every 45 New Jersey children, federal and state lawmakers, autism advocates and parents of children with autism came together on Tuesday to call for more to be done to address the autism problem home and abroad.
“It’s a global pandemic,” said Smith. “Minimally, we’re talking about 67 million people around the world. We missed the boat here. … And in many places around the world, (autism) is almost never recognized.”
These comments came during a Tuesday press conference at The SEARCH Day Program School in Ocean Township – the state’s first autism specialty school – where advocates marked World Autism Day and National Autism Month by calling for more to be done to explain, and care for, the skyrocketing autistic population.
Smith was joined at the press conference by state Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth), prominent autism advocates from around the state and several parents of autistic children.
“This is an issue that is nonpartisan and this is an issue that sees no boundaries as it relates to economic and social boundaries. This affects all aspects of our community,” Angelini said. “We know about the science, we know we need to look to evidence-based practices … and the CDC is looking at this, but we need to keep on them.”