The May 7 Health & Science article “Disability or difference? Divisions in autism community.” brought needed attention to society’s divergent views on autism. The complaints of people with autism and their family members reflect a failure of the medical industry’s definition, research, funding and support infrastructure to address the reality of coping with a developmental disability that presents so differently from person to person.
An immediate value-added option is autism research to support children and families managing severe autism now. Although autism is a lifelong disability, only a tiny percentage of autism research looks at its impact over a lifetime. We need research and funding for services that support development of daily living and vocational skills, academics and behavior management.
Health insurers need to step up. Too often they let families down with current levels of financial support. Autism awareness is a good thing, but we need to elevate the discussion to solutions that help people with autism today.
Vincent Strully Jr., Southborough, Mass.
The writer is president and chief executive of the New England Center for Children.