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Autism Becomes an Electoral Issue

I agree with the comment of Orac on Respectful Insolence that it was remarkable in the last Presidential debate how discussions of autism treatment and research became mainline issues in the campaign.


Oddly, Sarah Palin was credited (by McCain) with this sudden realization that autism (a disease that now effects 1 in 150 children) is a major child healthcare issue, despite the fact that her child has Down’s Syndrome, not autism.

Don’t get me wrong–the need for more and better services for children with a wide range of developmental disabilities is clear. Autism is the disorder that is most likely to have downstream effects, not just for healthcare, but for social services, employment benefits, and many more sectors of the economy, for decades to come.

(Not if you listen to Denis Leary, though, who says that autism is merely an excuse for lazy kids and parents…no I’m really not kidding. )

It’s a good sign that the candidates have taken notice. What they actually plan to do about it….well, that’s a whole other story all together.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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