About SafeMinds

Our Goal

Our goal is to end the autism epidemic by advancing environmental research and effective treatments.

We refuse to accept the current autism paradigm that permits an unchecked epidemic and widespread suffering. Our model embraces risk-taking and experimental approaches. to accelerate urgent breakthrough research and practices that will make an immediate difference. The crisis of autism demands this approach.

Autism is a national health crisis effecting nearly 2 percent of American children. Since 2000, over 1 million American children have been diagnosed with autism. Approximately 100 individuals are diagnosed each day in the United States, and more children will be diagnosed with autism this year than the number of children diagnosed with AIDS, diabetes, and cancer, combined.

Autism is an epidemic. In 1995, one in 500 of us was diagnosed with this developmental disability. Now, 1 in 68 of us has received this diagnosis. The increase in autism prevalence shows no sign of abating. For many years, U.S. government agency heads have scratched their heads, questioning just how much of a rise there really is. They ignore peer-reviewed research proving that it’s not just better diagnosis, and that people with autism would not have been diagnosed with something else decades ago. These government officials still treat autism as a research project, with no measurable outcomes, accountability, or ability to leverage agency resources. This must change now.

Autism is environmentally-induced. There is no such thing as a genetic epidemic. For decades, the U.S. government and other organizations have spent the majority of scant autism research funds on genetics, rather than on environmental toxins, or epigenetics—how gene expression changes over time as a result of environmental exposures.

Autism is a spectrum condition. While some have little or no disability, most of those with autism live with poorly treated disability and serious, sometimes life-threatening medical conditions. The cost to society is now estimated at $268 billion.

Autism complications are serious but treatable. Almost 70 percent of people with autism endure gastrointestinal disease. Over half are non-verbal. Approximately 35 percent of children with autism have a seizure disorder, as compared to one to two percent of the general population. Almost half of children with autism exhibit wandering behavior. People with autism are nine times more likely to ideate suicide than their “typical” peers.

As parents, we ask the tough questions. What if my child with autism and epilepsy wanders, and can’t take his medicine? Will he have a seizure somewhere with no help? What if my nonverbal child with autism has stomach pain, and she can’t tell me? How will I know? Will I have a doctor who knows how to treat her? How can I help my child with autism express himself to a therapist so that he can find appropriate therapy to address his mental health needs?

Autism with disability can be prevented. The vast majority of new autism cases are due to worrisome changes in our environment—growing chemical exposures, poor nutrition, alterations in our biome, expansion of medical interventions, indoor lifestyles. These changes are modifiable. The autism epidemic can be reversed by accelerating environmental research and demanding reform in public health policies.

Autism severity can be resolved. The disability and health impairments that accompany autism can be addressed and treated even as the person with autism is celebrated. Effective interventions and supports exist today and more are being developed. Those with autism can lead safe, healthy, productive and fulfilling lives. Parents, self-advocates, health practitioners and policy-makers need to know about the interventions that work to speed their adoption.