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PA Governor Rendell: New Report Shows Demand for Autism Services will Continue to Rise
Date:11/18/2009

PA First in Nation to Release Statewide Data

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania is expected to see a continued rise in the number of children and adults living with autism, according to the Pennsylvania Autism Census Project Final Report released today by Governor Edward G. Rendell.

"With the release of this report, Pennsylvania becomes the first state in the nation to have data helping us to prepare to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population of children and adults with autism," Governor Rendell said. "This report marks another important accomplishment in our efforts to understand the needs of Pennsylvanians with autism.

"Prior to this study, we had no accurate means to determine how many families were potentially in need of services and support," said Governor Rendell. "As we worked to determine who these families were and where they lived, our sense that Pennsylvania faces a very real crisis was confirmed."

In 2005, an estimated 20,000 Pennsylvanians were living with autism. The report predicts the number will grow to at least 25,000 by 2010. While the number of children diagnosed continues to rise, the report details an expected dramatic increase in the number of adults with autism. According to the report:

  • In 2005, more than 1,400 Pennsylvania adults were living with autism - just over seven percent of the total autism population in the state.
  • That number is expected to increase by 179 percent to more than 3,800 in 2010 and to more than 10,000 by 2015.

Allegheny, Philadelphia and Montgomery counties were identified as having the highest number of individuals with autism. The census results further indicated that Warren, Pike, Clearfield, Mercer and Monroe counties showed the highest prevalence of autism; and Juniata, Sullivan, Union and Adams showed the lowest.

The Governor said the report will be an extraordinarily important tool in identifying the types of services needed and the areas of the state where they are needed the most. With the census report, Pennsylvania is uniquely situated to coordinate its efforts to provide necessary assistance to people with autism and their families. The report also identified key areas where cross-systems collaboration and coordination are needed:

  • High-level planning for children transitioning into adulthood;
  • Planning for housing for the growing population of adults with autism;
  • Consistent data collection methods; and
  • The continued need to increase capacity of professionals to evaluate, diagnose, educate and provide services.

For more information on programs and services for Pennsylvanians with autism, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us or call 866-539-7689.

Media contacts:

Stacey Witalec, DPW; 717-787-4592

Gary Tuma, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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