Advocates Worry That Autism Is Stealing The Show
A major emphasis on autism by the state of New Jersey is leaving people affected by other developmental disabilities feeling left out.
Earlier this month New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said he plans to create a state Office of Autism Services. Autism advocates praised the move, saying that the special emphasis is warranted for a disability estimated to affect 1 in 94 of the state’s residents.
But advocates representing those with other developmental disabilities say that setting up a special office for autism creates a two-tiered system when the needs of individuals with autism are often similar to the needs of individuals who have other diagnoses.
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Furthermore, advocates say that with limited state resources adding the new office could take much needed funding away from individuals in favor of funding bureaucracy for the diagnosis du jour. And, they worry that parents with end up pressuring diagnosticians for an autism diagnosis simply so they can access appropriate services.
“It’s very difficult for us when the solution focuses on one segment of the problem,” one advocate told the Philadelphia Inquirer.