Autism Health Policy Forums

SafeMinds is forming Autism Health Policy Forums that address four potentially life-threatening, commonly co-occurring conditions with autism. They are:

The purpose of the forums is to identify current research findings that may have clinical application for patients with autism today—but are not yet being used in most settings. The forums will also identify gaps in research that are necessary for providing the safest and most effective treatments for people with autism.

SafeMinds research committee members are developing the parameters for each forum, and are identifying the most appropriate researchers and clinicians for them. We are also seeking funding sources, from both public and private sources, to implement the forums. If you are interested in supporting the forums, consider a donation to SafeMinds.

February 11, 2020

What Leads to the Good Life for Autistic Adults? Nobody Knows.

Lack of Systems-Level Evidence Hampers Progress in Service Delivery: People with autism live most of their lives as adults, yet almost all research – 98% – has been done on children. And what meager research on adult outcomes exists has generally focused on the individual or family – on skill development or caregiving approaches, for example. Yet studies on health challenges across many fields have shown that community- or systems-level capacities – the services offered, innovation in programs, case coordination, financing – are vital components to achieving sufficient quality of life. Surprisingly, there are few studies evaluating programs and services for autistic adults, reports a new study.

February 10, 2020

Horseback Riding Therapy for Autism Given a Boost

Hefty NIH Grant Approved for Colorado Researcher Studying Why Therapeutic Riding Benefits Autism: The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus announced that CU researcher Robin Gabriels has received a Federal grant to study the reasons why therapeutic horseback riding (THR) is effective for children with autism. The grant follows studies by Gabriels showing THR improves irritability, hyperactivity, and social communication skills, and that the effect lasts at least 6 months after the riding stops.

February 10, 2020

30 Years of Autism = $7 Trillion in Costs

Next Decade Will Add More Trillions to Looming Public Financial Burden: The lifetime cost of autism for U.S. cases identified in the 30 years between 1990 and 2019 is estimated to be $7 trillion. If costs for the next decade 2020-2029 are included, the lifetime cost will reach up to $15 trillion. The findings were reported in a new study in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. In “The Lifetime Social Cost of Autism: 1990–2029”, authors Janet Cakir, Richard Frye, and Stephen Walker compiled findings from peer-reviewed published studies on the number of cases of autism for the decades 1990-2019 and the lifetime cost of autism per person in the U.S.

February 03, 2020

Potential Anti-inflammatory Treatment for Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by impaired social interactions and communication. 1 ASD affects about 1 in 59 children  2 and is estimated to reach 1 in 40 children in 2025. 3 The complexity of the factors involved in the clinical picture of ASD, along with the lack of reliable biomarkers 4 and specific pathogenesis 5 has prevented the development of effective treatments.

May 24, 2018

Autism Prevalence – Examining the Myths and Truths

SafeMinds interviews the New Jersey investigator for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) autism prevalence report of 1 in 59 children, examining the truths and myths behind the latest numbers from the Federal Government. The big news for May was the release of new autism prevalence numbers from the Federal Government. The CDC study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that 1 in 59 children have autism, up from the 1 in 68 they reported just two years ago. This alarming increase compelled SafeMinds to call for an emergency meeting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Along with other autism organizations, SafeMinds is demanding a Federal Autism Strategic Plan that address the urgent crisis of autism.

May 24, 2018

Autism & Mental Health: Problems & Solutions

Two new studies point to higher and growing healthcare costs for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) across the lifespan, particularly in the area of mental health. A new model program in New York might have an answer to this critical problem. A new study reports that children with autism were up to 30 times more likely to use emergency departments (ED) than youth without ASD. Many of those visits were for non-urgent ED visits, which is a costly way to provide routine healthcare. Up to 13 percent of visits were for behavioral or psychiatric problems, far more than for children without autism, for whom less than two percent of visits were for psychiatric problems. Youth with ASD were also likely to have repeat visits to the ED and more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric unit or medical floor. The study was a review of the literature published between 1985 and 2016.

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