“Our duty in autism is not to cure but to relieve suffering and to maximize each person’s potential,”
- John Elder Robison
A 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reports that 2.5 million people in the United States are affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASDs or are on the spectrum). Autism is the fastest growing serious social and developmental disability in the United States, with data now indicating that 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys are diagnosed with an ASD. To date, over 750 thousand young adults in this country live with ASDs. This is a neurological condition, where people with ASDs handle information in their brain differently than other people (www.cdc.gov). Ranging from a person who remains non-verbal to a brilliant scientist or from mild to severe, the hallmark feature of autism is impairment in social interactions that can go from lack of emotional contact with others to social awkwardness in maintaining relationships. However, through a number of variables such as research, awareness, and technological advances autism is treatable, allowing the possibility of many individuals who are impacted by this complex and life-long disability to be able to lead a life of independence. Although there has been substantial progress in the study of autism, as well as the availability of funding for research and early prevention treatment, the need for adult supports continues to outweigh the available resources.