Every year, nearly 5,000 new autism cases enter the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) system.
1.2% of all male births in California in 2008 were diagnosed with autism and deemed eligible for inclusion in the DDS system, which admits only cases of substantial disability.
As a result of the steep escalation in autism cases, adult autism rates in California will double in the next five years and triple over the next ten.
The issues faced by our community today in terms of an insufficiency of resources to meet the widely diverse needs of individuals with autism will be amplified three-fold in the next ten years,” said Carrie Molho, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Clinical Manager at San Andreas Regional Center, a Bay Area DDS-contracted agency that funds services for the developmentally disabled. Dr. Molho also emphasizes that while diagnostic shifts or better awareness have been suggested as causes for the rapid rise of cases, “those factors only account for a small percentage of the overall increases seen.”
The report calls for structural reform and increased funding for all areas of services for the burgeoning population of disabled autistic children and adults, individuals who exhibit severe functional, communication, behavioral and social limitations and require ongoing care and support.
Carrie Molho, PhD, ASD and Clinical Manager San Andreas Regional Center
Ph: 408 341.3537 email : firstname.lastname@example.org
(Can speak as one of the chief diagnosticians in the area that the increase in autism counts in the developmental services system is not an artifact of better awareness or shifting diagnosis.)
Cathy Bouchard, Program Director, Hope Services
(Can speak to growing population of young autistic adults exiting the school system and the lack of preparedness of our adult system to meet their intensive needs.)
Jennifer Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Morgan Autism Center
(Can speak as someone who has served the local autism community for more than three decades to the dramatic increases in autism she has seen during that period and the lack of capacity in the adult system.)
Brad Boardman, Executive Director Morgan Autism Center
Ph: 408.241.8161 email: email@example.com
(Can speak to the severity of the capacity constraints in providing support and programs to autistic adults. His adult program is “bursting at the seams” without resources to expand.)
Kym Luqman, Executive Director Harambee Kinship Center
(Can speak to the profound difficulties of providing services to autistic adults with severe disruptive and aggressive behaviors, the systemic underfunding and fragmentation of the system, and the lack of planning.)
Sandi Soliiday Alameda County Developmental Disabilities Council
(Can speak to need to bolster faltering developmental services system in our area after years of underfunding.)
The full report, based on data from the California Department of Developmental Services, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Department of Education, can be found at http://www.sfautismsociety.org/uploads/1/1/7/4/11747519/autism_rising_2015.pdf