HSC/CDD Urgently Seek Autism Funding

February 13, 2007

Contact: Lauren Cruse (505) 272-3690


UNM Doctor to Appear on "Eye On New Mexico"

UNM HSC and CDD seek funding to help the autism epidemic in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- On Sunday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Cate McClain, director of the Center for Development and Disability (CDD) at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC), will appear on the KOB-Channel 4 news segment "Eye On New Mexico" right before "Meet the Press." The 30 minute segment will discuss the CDD and autism awareness in New Mexico.

In addition to Dr. McClain, Laura White, a parent of a nine-year-old son with autism, will also appear on the show. White’s husband is Dr. Craig White, an associate professor in accounting with the UNM Anderson School of Management. Both are activists in the community, raising awareness about the lack of services for autism families living in New Mexico.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a nationwide epidemic that continues to be a major health concern for families and health care providers across the country. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased to one child in every 150. While no accurate counting system exists in New Mexico, the SouthWest Autism Network (SWAN) in conjunction with the CDD, has approximately 1,100 children and adults with ASD as clients. Prevalence rate in New Mexico is estimated to be at least 3.6 per 1,000.

On Monday, Feb. 19, New Mexico’s autism community will take part in Autism Day at the Capitol in Santa Fe, N.M. to not only spread awareness about ASD, but to also show support for senate bill 164 and house bill 375.

Both bills are seeking $7.75 million to be used in establishing and operating programs for neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism. Medicaid will match $6 million of these funds.

If either bill passes, the CDD will receive $750,000 to support its diagnostic clinic. Early diagnosis is critical, but with the ever increasing number of autism cases in the state, the waiting list for the diagnostic clinic at the CDD has extended to three years. Additional funding will cut down the wait list to six months.

ASD is a lifelong disability. Children diagnosed with ASD need services to guide them through this disability not only during their childhood, but also as adults wanting to contribute to everyday society. It is estimated that 66 percent of New Mexico children with ASD do not receive services.

The CDD is located off campus at 2300 Menaul. To learn more about the CDD and SWAN go tohttp://cdd.unm.edu/

Contact: Lauren Cruse, 272-3322

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