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Autism Support Network and Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc. Create Alliance to Help Families Affected by Autism
Date:4/21/2009

ice through the usual online social networks when Brian came across AACF, Inc. and introduced me to the Autism Support Network," said AACF, Inc. founder Michael Buckholtz. "As someone coping with autism every day, I now feel I have a comfortable place to discuss and share my grassroots humanitarian mission tailor-made for assisting families coping with autism. For me, Autism Support Network is the MySpace for the Autism Community."

Today 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism, with a new case diagnosed every 20 minutes. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or limited activities and interests. Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.

According to a Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in the spring of 2007, the typical American spends about $317,000 over his or her lifetime in direct medical costs, incurring 60% of those costs after age 65 years. In contrast, people with autism incur about $306,000 in additional direct medical costs, implying that people with autism spend twice as much as the typical American over their lifetimes and spend 60% of those incremental direct medical costs after age 21 years. The societal costs to support a single person with autism is $3.2 million over his or her lifetime, and as a group, upwards of $35 billion each year in direct (both medical and nonmedical) and indirect costs to care for all individuals diagnosed with ASD.

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