Decoding Autism Previous Broadcasts
KQED World: Sat, Oct 6, 2012 -- 5:00 PM
Twenty years ago, few people knew about autism. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it a major public health crisis. The devastating neurodevelopmental disorder affects a child's communication and social skills, ability to empathize and often, his or her IQ. There is no clear cause and no known cure. In 2010, doctors will diagnose more children with an autism spectrum disorder than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. In New Jersey, the prevalence rate rose to 1 in 94, higher than the national average of 1 in 110. These alarming statistics led to an enormous amount of scientific research in an effort to decode the mystery of autism. Scientists are studying the brains, blood and genes of children with autism and looking at the environment to find answers about its possible causes. DECODING AUTISM looks at the health issue that leaves families heartbroken, vulnerable and desperate for answers. Emmy Award-winning journalist Sara Lee Kessler highlights the efforts underway in New Jersey and New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Louisville and Sacramento, where researchers hope to gain insights that may lead to prevention, new treatments and even a cure. DECODING AUTISM includes interviews with a number of families dealing with the challenges of raising children on the autism spectrum. DECODING AUTISM visits schools specializing in educating children with autism, including the internationally recognized Princeton Child Development Institute in New Jersey and Thursday's Child in New York. There, early intervention using Applied Behavior Analysis, both in the classroom and at home, has the potential to lessen the severity of symptoms and maximize the potential of children with autism spectrum disorders.