"The autism bill has already become one of the most
talked-about this session. SB55 passed through to the Senate Business and Labor
Committee and early this week was awaiting action on the Senate floor.
"Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, who voted in favor of SB55,
said the bill has introduced much-needed discussion on the treatment of the
devastating disease. Utah's rate of autism is 1 in 47 children, the highest in the
country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
With a huge colorful pit of 18,532 balls - each
representing a Utah child with autism - set up in the Capitol rotunda on
Friday, advocates hoped to drive home the impact of the complex brain disorder
on the state's families.
"A bill that would mandate insurance coverage for
autism therapy in Utah could be debated by the Senate within days, but whether
a compromise can be struck to pass HB55 remains in question.
"Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Çottonwood Heights - a
physician and past president of the Utah Medical Association - is sponsoring
SB55, designed to deliver insurance coverage for thousands of Utah's 18,532 children who have been diagnosed with autism.
Children age nine and younger could receive up to $50,000 in annual coverage,
while youth ages nine to 17 would qualify for $25,000 per year. Insurers oppose
I'm curious why Sen. Deidre Henderson and Sen. David Hinkins voted
against SB55. The Salt Lake Tribune has published a number of stories on
this issue. We're repeatedly told that Utah has
the nation's highest autism rate, one in every 47 children (and that also means
that for boys alone, it's one in every 32 boys). How do health officials
Aren't Henderson and Hinkins the least bit bit concerned about
the future? Experts tell us that 80 percent of Americans with autism are under
the age of 18. Imagine the future when thousands of young adults with autism
age out of school and become dependent on the taxpayers of Utah for their
support and care. The cost of their care will bankrupt social services.
Dr. Brian Shiozawa knows how vital this issue is. A once rare
disorder is now so common that everyone someone with an autistic child and no
official can tell us why. The rates are based on studies of eight year olds,
not eighty year olds. No one has ever shown us a comparable rate among
adults--especially adults with classic autism whose symptoms are easily
I would ask Dr. Shiozawa what he thinks about the numbers. How
does he explain the rate nationally and in Utah? What if the numbers continue
to increase? When is someone going to do something to address autism?
risk might be cut nearly in half by making sure that mothers are taking
supplements containing folic acid, a B vitamin, at the time of conception and
in the early months of pregnancy.
"'This is important because this is
something women can do to reduce the risk of autism,' says Alycia Halladay,
Senior Director of Clinical and Environmental Sciences at Autism Speaks, an
"The study, published in the new issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association, followed 85,176 children born in Norway . Only 114, or 0.13%, of those children
had autistic disorder. But 0.2% of the children whose mothers did not take
folic acid had autism, compared to 0.1% of the children of mothers who took the
vitamin in pill form. All told, women who took folic acid supplements before
and early in pregnancy were 39% less likely to have autistic children. Stated
differently, of every 10 children who would have become autistic without the
folic acid supplements, 6 would be autistic with them."
My favorite line in this story is when
the lead researcher said, 'It doesn't prevent autism. Clearly some women who
take folic acid will go on to have an autistic child. But it is something that
women can do and can feel empowered to do.'
What does that mean? Compare these
statements to what the headline says.
Halladay also said, 'There are also factors
that increase the risk of autism, including infections early in pregnancy,
premature birth, and pesticide and chemical exposure.' WHAT CHEMICAL
EXPOSURE? She doesn't say.
"The state of
Minnesota is being urged to pay for an intensive -- and controversial -- form
of autism therapy for children on Medical Assistance, even though scientists
are uncertain of its effectiveness.
recommendation, from a state advisory panel, would create the first
'autism-specific strategy' for thousands of families covered by the state
health care program for the poor and disabled.
the plan, which would need both legislative and federal approval, the state
would pay for a treatment known as early intensive behavior therapy, which
advocates say is the best hope for children with autism. In some cases, the
treatment can include up to 40 hours a week of one-on-one therapy and cost up
to $100,000 a year."
now intensive behavioral therapy is now unproven? Maybe the real problem
with autism is that it costs too much. No matter how much officials and
the media try to cover up what autism is doing to America's children, the one
deniable truth is that this disabled generation isn't going away.