Los Angeles, CA (12/15/2021) — Special Needs Network (SNN) is calling for urgent action in the wake of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) shocking new report on autism prevalence among children.

The CDC analyzed data from 2018 and found that an estimated one in 44 children aged eight years have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the US.

SNN Founder and President Areva Martin underscored the critical and immediate need to expand services.

“When my son Marty was diagnosed with autism in the early 2000s, the number of children receiving an autism diagnosis was approximately one in 150,” said Martin.  “That seemed frighteningly high — but I held hope that over time we would see fewer — not more — families facing the crisis of autism.  In 2020, the CDC reported that the number had grown to a once-unimaginable 1 in 54.  This new statistic is staggering, and calls for intensifying efforts to expand outreach and services.”

A second report from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network found that children living in lower-income neighborhoods had a higher rate of autism identification compared to kids living in higher-income areas.  Additionally, a recent analysis by JAMA Network found that autism diagnoses among Black and Hispanic children had increased by more than 40 percent since 2014.

Ensuring early diagnosis, support and intervention makes a crucial difference in children’s ability to grow, thrive and live independent lives.  Yet, Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reported in its December 2020 issue that Black children with autism spectrum disorder were diagnosed an average of more than three years after their parents expressed concerns about their development.

“SNN is committed to providing early diagnosis and the very best resources and interventions for every child, regardless of zip code,” said Martin.  “We call on the medical community, legislators, funders and community leaders to join us in urgent, collaborative action in response to this growing crisis.”

AREVA MARTIN poses with children from SNN

Special Needs Network, Inc. (SNN) is a nonprofit grassroots organization responding to the crisis of autism and other developmental disabilities in underserved communities. The organization recognizes the intersectionality of individuals with disabilities and that their fight for disability rights is inextricably tied to the fight for racial justice and the civil rights of all people. SNN focuses on raising public awareness, impacting public policy, and increasing education and access to resources for families, children, and adults.

For more information on AREVA MARTIN or SNN and/or for media and interview requests,

BJ Coleman
Image Elevators, Inc.

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BJ Coleman
Image Elevators
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