Dec 9, 2018, Santa Fe New Mexican: New Mexico children can wait years for an autism diagnosis http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/health_and_science/new-mexico-children-can-wait-years-for-an-autism-diagnosis/article_a7128950-04b5-586f-9ae7-eea2b8f557c2.html When 8-year-old Adam goes to a new place, it can be exciting, almost overwhelming. … “I took Adam to the doctor probably every day for the first two weeks that we were home because he would just scream,” LeDoux said. “Out of a 24-hour day, Adam screamed like almost 18 hours.” The pediatrician said he had colic. But as the weeks and months passed, his mother couldn’t stop worrying. Adam was late for every milestone. By the time he flashed his first smile — at 10 months — he should have started walking. When he finally started walking, he should have begun potty training. LeDoux asked herself — and then her doctor — if Adam might have autism spectrum disorder. “Oh, that’s just normal for kids Adam’s age; really, don’t worry about it,” LeDoux recalls the doctor assuring her without conducting an evaluation…. Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that with 104 health shortage areas in New Mexico, the state needs 261 additional doctors. Some counties have over 7,000 people for every primary care physician, which means providers can meet the needs of only a quarter of the population. Mental and behavioral health is even more of a challenge, with only 12 percent of the need being met. And though the rate of autism has soared since 2007 — from 1 in 250 children to 1 in 59 — state funding for autism programs was cut by about half by Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration. … The waiting period for evaluations has skyrocketed. According to the UNM clinic, which sees about eight children per week, the wait for a child under 6 is up to two years; for 6 and older, the wait is more than three years. … LeDoux said her repeated requests for a screening were ignored at every well-child visit throughout the first six years of Adam’s life. … And along with 600 other New Mexico children, he is still waiting for that medical diagnosis.
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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