House Oversight panel plans autism hearing

There is a planned hearing set later this month by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee  on rising autism rates and the federal government’s response.

Rep. Darrell Issa (D-Calif.),The panel chair, has invited witnesses from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other advocacy groups.

The CDC reported in March that autism rates are one in 88 children and is rising quickly. Most of the children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 8, , a sharp increase from all its previous estimates.

The Oversight Committee’s witness invitations say the Nov. 29 hearing “will address the federal response to the recent rise in ASD diagnoses, as well as the allocation of government resources for ASD. It will also review research and treatment options for those diagnosed with ASDs.”

Many parent groups are voicing foul as they believe that they should be heard first in order to set the tone for the hearings. Some of their biggest concerns are over the tone of the hearing as many would like to hear people call autism a health care emergency. Others would like it if they were going to call in more experts for more opinions on causation.

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  1. Esther Holmes
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Watching this hearing made me very proud of the participating representatives on both sides of the aisle, and optimistic that you really can work together for a greater cause. Thank-you for your candor, and for asking the hard questions. Please stand up to the special interests and don’t back down.

  2. Helen Bell-Palmer
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Re : Increasing rates of autism & possible causation.

    Should consideration be given to a different stance? Such as : Is the perceived increase of autism amongst 0 to 16 year olds actually the new “normal”?
    I suggest this in the light of the increase in computerised games, cell phone innovations, communications and socialising which have come to the fore over a very similar timeline.
    Might the increase and common use of technology impact on and, potentially, reduce childhood experiences of more “traditional” activities, such as shared board games, imaginative play, pick-up-sticks; Ker-Plunk, Mousetrap and so on. Playing these types of games also helped to encourage social interation, turn taking, fine motor skills, verbal communication, sharing, awareness of the other person etc. Is it, therefore, possible that the reduction in or lack of these skills are, to some extent, occurring because current technology based play, communication and social networking does not demand or encourage them? Would the possible impact on the child’s skills development be to create the perception of an increase in the rates of Autistic Spectrum Discorders amongst children and young people?
    Just a thought (I like to think of it as The Pick-up-Sticks Theory).

    Helen Bell-Palmer RMN RGN

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