For immediate release: April 1, 2008
CHICAGO - The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports World Autism Day (April 2) as a way to bring together groups that are committed to finding the causes of, and successful treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders, which now affect an estimated 1 in 150 children in the United States. Thousands of children, parents and families are coping with what can be a devastating diagnosis with lifelong consequences.
Pediatricians care for children with autism and their families every day. They are passionate advocates on behalf of these families and recognize that autism is a significant challenge to the health of the nation's children. Pediatricians emphasize that early diagnosis is critical. The AAP promotes regular screening for autism at the appropriate well-child visits, as well as treatments tailored to meet the needs of an individual child. In 2007, the AAP published the Autism Toolkit, which includes clinical guidance to help pediatricians identify and manage children with autism, to refer them to therapeutic services, and to provide parents with information and resources. The AAP also offers a host of resources for parents on its Web site, Autism Health Topics Page.
"We know many parents are searching for answers," said AAP President Renee R. Jenkins, MD, FAAP. "The AAP has supported research into the causes of autism and will continue to do so." Pediatrics, the Academy's peer-reviewed, scientific journal, has included dozens of studies on the associated factors, management and impact of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The AAP recognizes the best way to address the needs of children with autism and children overall is through a partnership among pediatricians, parents and researchers. The AAP has met with leaders of advocacy groups, such as Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America, which include parents of children with autism. Most recently, the AAP met with representatives of Defeat Autism Now! (a program of the Autism Research Institute) in an effort to facilitate communication between pediatricians, parents and researchers about the diagnosis and treatment of children with autism. All advocates for these children agree that further research is needed regarding causes as well as safe and effective treatment.
"We are pleased the AAP reached out recently to Defeat Autism Now! in order to better understand the treatments and interventions that we have found beneficial to children with autism," said Stan Kurtz, executive council member of Defeat Autism Now! "We are full of hope that this is the beginning of a thoughtful partnership that will further explore factors that might cause or contribute to autism, as well as examine safe and effective treatment approaches for families coping with this condition."
For more information about autism, visit www.aap.org.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.The Autism Research Institute (ARI) is a non-profit organization established in 1967 that fosters scientific research on autism triggers as well as diagnostic, treatment, and prevention methods. Through its Defeat Autism Now! program, ARI provides research-based information to parents, clinicians, and researchers worldwide, through its Web site (autism.com), call center, parent groups, conferences, science-based publications, and think tanks.