April saw scant autism awareness

Well, April -- Autism Awareness Month -- has passed with no more fanfare than a parade minus a band.

There was some media attention focusing on autism families and how behavioral therapy helped the child with tantrums, or a little newspaper story about diagnosing the child early on so they can start speech right away.

With the exception of Robert MacNeil's terrific weeklong autism report on PBS, there was little to get excited about the whole month. Autism was treated for 30 days like a disorder we should simply get used to as the numbers climb like Jack's beanstalk.

I missed the concern about cause and cure. I know I missed the red sirens and loudspeakers blaring, "We've got to stop this epidemic now." Why are government health officials, doctors, etc., sitting on the sidelines waiting for the parade to pass?

Autism isn't going to go away like a sore throat. It's here to stay. In the next few years, well over a half-million children on the autism spectrum will reach adulthood, and the majority will never be able to take care of themselves.

I know so many families that are feeling frantic about the situation, and yet the government wants to "send in the clowns."

Let's make May Autism Month too, and start to get serious about the disaster that's upon us.

Maurine Meleck

North Augusta, S.C.

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