Meeting the challenges of Autism                                     
Dear Friends of Children,

I am very proud to introduce this very special issue of Healing Magazine. We are devoting the entire issue to autism, a neurobiological disorder that currently affects 1 out of every 100 children born today. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Although there are many theories about the causes of autism, the fact remains that no one can clearly explain why so many children have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and why the number of new diagnoses is growing at alarming rates.  

The cost of providing services to autistic children and adults will soon reach the hundreds of billions of dollars annually, but the human costs are utterly staggering. Depending upon the severity of symptoms, the child may never be able to live independently, marry or become a parent. He may never be able to communicate with his family or express his love and appreciation to his dedicated parents.

Although research is being conducted into the causes of autism, there are just not enough funds to go around. There are many private organizations and foundations that have taken up the cause and are raising millions of dollars to sponsor research, provide public education and develop strategies that help break down the walls of silence and improve the lives of autistic children and their families. Public figures are sharing their personal stories with the media to raise awareness and motivate the government and private donors to dig deeper to find answers.

There is so much that is still unknown, but researchers, educators, providers and families work untiringly to unlock these mysteries and help individuals with an ASD lead happy, productive lives. Of course, every child is unique, but there are certain approaches that appear to have greater success in opening channels of communication with autistic individuals.

I am so pleased that KidsPeace has been at the forefront of providing services to children with ASDs, and I pledge that we will continue to introduce new programs to meet the growing needs of this population. From our residential program in Maine to our after school social skills development classes to our unique summer camp and specialized autism diagnostic services, KidsPeace is listening to parents and experts in the field of autism and stepping up to meet the needs of children and families.

I hope that this issue of Healing will be educational and informative to professionals and parents and demonstrate our commitment to all individuals on the autism spectrum.

Thank you.

Will Isemann