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The Pediatric Forum
April 2007

Addressing the Crisis in Access to Autism Treatment Using Health Care Improvement Science

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(4):414-415. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.4.414

During the past 20 years, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has grown at an alarming pace to reach the current rate of 1 in 166 children. Yet, in the past 20 years, the way we think about treating children with ASDs has changed very little, if at all. Because screening children for ASD has increased and is beginning at younger ages, and because diagnosis has become more standardized to include children with lesser degrees of impairment, the systems in place for providing intervention and treatment have become predictably overwhelmed. Therefore, families are experiencing extreme frustration as they attempt to access needed, affordable services. While there is tremendous and greatly needed momentum in the research arena, families of school-aged children recognize that significant research developments are years away and may not have any direct impact on their children. They are begging for more support today.