House lawmakers called on officials from domestic and advocacy groups to testify about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Among the topics they discussed were efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the disease, limited public health resources and public health policy.
According to studies, autism in children appears to be on the rise. "About 0.74 percent of kids had received in autism diagnosis in 2006-2008, up from 0.19 percent in 1997-1999," said Coleen Boyle, director of the U.S. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The goal, she said, "is raising awareness of the importance of this as a health problem and one we need to address."
Other witnesses testifying before the House Oversight Committee included: Alan Guttmacher, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Bob Wright, Co-Founder of Autism Speaks; Scott Badesch, President of the Autism Society; Bradley McGarry, Coordinator of the Asperger Initiative at Mercyhurst University; Ari Ne'eman, President of Autistic Self Advocacy Network; and other health professionals.