Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The Center for Disease Controls Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network released data in 2007 that found about 1 in 150 8-year-old children in multiple areas of the United States had an ASD. This makes autism more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups, and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.
According to the Autism Society of America, the annual cost of childhood and adult autism to the US economy is 90 billion dollars a year. That cost is projected to increase to between 200 and 400 billion by the year 2010.
In 2000, then United States Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, endorsed intensive behavioral intervention for individuals with autism. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General states Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior, and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior. These applied behavioral methods make up the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA).
Providences Merrymeeting Center is proud to include among our ABA Leadership team Dr. Mark Steege, BCBA-D, Dr. Jamie Pratt, BCBA-D, and Lora Perry, MS, BCBA. All three of these individuals have demonstrated expertise in the field of ABA and autism services.