Autism Speaks Launches Push for Adults With ASD, Alters Vaccination Stance Autism Speaks, a science and advocacy organization, has updated its position on vaccinations for children and has also launched a new initiative that focuses on services for adults with autism spectrum disorders. In the midst of recent outbreaks of measles in the United States, the organization posted a new ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   April 01, 2015
Autism Speaks Launches Push for Adults With ASD, Alters Vaccination Stance
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   April 01, 2015
Autism Speaks Launches Push for Adults With ASD, Alters Vaccination Stance
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.20032015.14
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.20032015.14
Autism Speaks, a science and advocacy organization, has updated its position on vaccinations for children and has also launched a new initiative that focuses on services for adults with autism spectrum disorders.
Vaccines
In the midst of recent outbreaks of measles in the United States, the organization posted a new immunization policy on its website in February.
Most of the 102 cases of measles reported in January by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appeared in unvaccinated people, health officials say.
The statement from Rob Ring, chief science officer of Autism Speaks, reads: “Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.”
The communication replaces a four-paragraph statement posted in April 2013. The previous position encouraged parents to vaccinate, but added, “It remains possible that, in rare cases, immunization may trigger the onset of autism symptoms in a child with an underlying medical or genetic condition.”
Some parents opt out of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine out of concerns raised by a 1998 study in The Lancet—since retracted—that suggested a link between the vaccine and autism. The organization has not commented on its plans to continue to fund vaccine-related research.
Adult services
The Housing and Community Living Initiative aims to increase access to home and community-based services, available housing options, and the capacity of providers to serve adults with autism spectrum disorder.
The initiative will begin in three states in 2015: Florida and Illinois—where waiting lists for services number more than 20,000—and New Jersey.
Working with local policymakers and disability and advocacy groups, Autism Speaks staff will identify legislative goals and mobilize volunteers to push for expanded home and community-based services.
The advocacy efforts will be state-specific, given that each state’s Medicaid program is unique. In some states, the goal may be to reduce the number of people on waiting lists for services. In others, the focus may be on expanding affordable housing or supported home environments offered to people with ASD.
Until now, Autism Speaks has focused state legislative activities on passing laws requiring health insurers to cover ASD treatments. With such mandates now on the books in 38 states, the organization is turning its attention to adult services.
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April 2015
Volume 20, Issue 4