One in 68 Children has Autism

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Newark airport program helps children with autism cope with air travel

February 25, 2011 7:37 pm Published by

A new program pioneered at Albert Einstein Healthcare Network (AEHN) is allowing children affected by autism to become more familiar with the sights and sounds of travel before taking a real trip on an airplane.

The Autism Explores™ program coaches families through the process of air travel by creating a staged scenario where they experience actual activities at the airport from curb to cabin and back, including checking in at the ticket counter, going through security, waiting at the gate, boarding the plane, taking a simulated flight and collecting luggage at the baggage check.

In addition to supporting families engaging in air travel, Autism Explores helps train airport personnel to recognize and properly respond to families who are traveling with children with autism. 

To date, They have trained over 130 airport and airline employees on autism. This week the program was brought to Newark Liberty International Airport.  

For further information, call 215-456-6083.

Meet us at the Bowery: Young Professionals Networking Event

February 24, 2011 9:22 pm Published by

The QSAC Junior Board invites you to a young professionals networking event to support autism education

When: Wednesday, March 23, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Where: Bowery Wine Company
13 East 1st Street, New York, NY


Details: $50* per person ($20 tax deductible)
Includes a selection of wine, beer and appetizers
Don’t miss this opportunity to support QSAC. Proceeds from the event will go to the QSAC Day School, the primary development focus of the QSAC Junior Board.


Contact Daniele at
212-244-5560 ext. 2016

What is Causing the Increase in Autism Prevalence?

February 7, 2011 3:38 pm Published by

When I first started working in the field of autism in the 1990’s, the prevalence was 1:2500, the latest estimate from 2009, reported by the Centers for Disease Control, is 1 in 110 children!

Since then, there has been much research to investigate the cause(s) of this dramatic increase in autism prevalence over time.

1. Some research suggests that increases are due to changes in diagnosis. King, M. & Bearman, P. (2009) found that approximately 26% of children in California who were previously diagnosed with MR had revisions to a diagnosis of autism from 1992 to 2005. In other words, 1 in 4 children diagnosed with autism in California today would not have been diagnosed using older diagnostic criteria.

2. Other research suggests an increase in the awareness of autism. Also using California data, Liu, King & Bearman (2010) found that children living very close to a child previously diagnosed with autism are more likely to be diagnosed with autism due to more awareness of the symptoms from parents talking to and educating other parents about autism resulting in an increased likelihood of their children being diagnosed. It is estimated that 16% of the increase in autism prevalence between 2000–2005 in California was due to social influence and increased awareness.

3. Societal factor are also estimated to account for some of the increase in autism cases, including advanced parental age. King, Fountain, Dakhlallah & Bearman (2009) looked at changes in risk factors associated with autism across successive birth cohorts. Along with others they are investigating the relationship between parental age and autism, demonstrating that older parents are at increased risk for having a child with autism. However, the underlying mechanism behind the relationship between increased parental age and risk for autism continues to be studied.

While this research is beginning to help us understand the increase in autism prevalence, half of the increase is still unexplained and not due to better diagnosis, greater awareness, and/or social factors alone.

1. King, M. & Bearman, P. (2009). Diagnostic Change and Increased Prevalence of Autism. International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 38, Issue 5:1224-1234.
2. Liu, K., King, M., & Bearman, P. (2010). Social Influence and the Autism Epidemic. American Journal of Sociology, Volume 115, Number 5:1387-1434.
3. King, M., Fountain, C., Dakhlallah, D., & Bearman, P. (2009) Estimated Autism Risk and Older Reproductive Age. American Journal of Public Health, Volume 99, Issue 9:1673-1679.

Advocacy group releases transitional guide for teens with autism

February 4, 2011 9:08 pm Published by

The National Autism Advocacy group, Autism Speaks, released an autism Transition Tool Kit, a guide to help families and their adolescents with autism more smoothly navigate into adulthood.

This free tool kit was developed in conjunction with parents and professionals and includes links to valuable resources. It can be downloaded on their website

Siblings of Children with Autism: What Parents Should Know

February 3, 2011 8:56 pm Published by

Sibling relationships provide children unique opportunities for learning about themselves and others.
They make up a child’s first social network and are likely the basis for developing future relationships.
While brothers and sisters influence each other and play important roles in each other’s lives, sibling relationship experiences may be altered in significant ways when children grow up with a disabled brother or sister. Sibling relationships are affected by both the specific characteristics of the individual siblings and by characteristics of the family in which they live.

It is estimated than an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD, and many of these children have brothers and/or sisters. With the extraordinary effort needed to care for a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is often easy to overlook the unique needs of their siblings. Siblings of children with special needs surprise adults again & again with their wisdom & patience. This wisdom & patience, unfortunately, can act as a double-edged sword. These qualities are obviously excellent tools for dealing with a brother or sister who can be difficult, aggressive or simply “odd”. However, such traits may give others the perception that these children are better prepared to cope than what is realistic.

In a recent workshop, siblings of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder created this very insightful list of concerns to share with their parents.
 Sometimes I feel sad because other people treat my sibling bad.
 You shouldn’t expect more out of me just because my sibling has Autism.
 You should try & give me almost as much attention as my sibling with Autism, because it’s not nice to feel left out.
 I want to be treated like a normal kid, not like a kid with Autism or like an adult. . Sometimes it’s embarrassing to have a sibling with Autism.
 Tell me it’s ok to be embarrassed but that I need to respect my sibling.
 I get teased because of my Autistic sibling and lose friends.
 Sometimes you put off playing with me and then you pay attention to my sibling instead–that’s not fair.
 Let me know what’s going on with my sibling. Keep me informed about what is happening and why.
 I don’t want to be responsible for my sibling.

The common theme to this list is communication. Parents have the responsibility to insure communication is happening in both directions. Parents must give accurate & appropriate information to the siblings regarding their brother or sister & continuously support the siblings in sharing their thoughts and concerns regarding these matters.


QSAC is a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services.

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.