MI experiencing shortage of autism resources - WNEM TV 5

MI experiencing shortage of autism resources

Posted: Updated:
(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors and speech.

It continues to affect more and more children each day.

It is estimated one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

It's the fastest growing developmental disorder today and remains one of the most underfunded.

There is hope and early intervention is key.

However, in Michigan the need for certified specialists overwhelmingly outweighs services that are available.

Central Michigan University is working to address that need. A new grant is expanding services in the Central Autism Treatment Center, allowing students to work directly with children who have autism.

Many autism treatment centers in Mid-Michigan are at or near capacity with wait lists of children seeking help.

"Michigan, like probably several other states, is sort of experiencing a shortage of people who are qualified to work with individuals who have autism," said Jan Lampman, executive director of the ARC of Midland.

The ARC works with people who have autism. Lampman said there needs to be more resources available to help those with autism.

"It can make the difference between a kiddo being able to grow up and find a job in the community that they can keep and maintain and being able to, you know, live in their own home and have positive relationships," Lampman said.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said the state needs between 1,500 and 2,000 certified service providers. Right now there's only 603.

Lampman said she has some ideas on how to improve that number.

"Getting the word out to our local community colleges, to even our high schools so that as people are graduating from high school or graduating from community college or going on to four year universities, they know that this is a career field that is available to them," Lampman said.

Lampman said state lawmakers can do their part by earmarking dollars to help increase compensation for workers in the career field. Lampman believes that's the biggest reason the number of professionals who work with people who have autism is so low, but she said being able to perform a task that improves a person's life is worth a lot more than money.

"To be a part of someone else's learning is pretty rewarding," she said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WNEM; Saginaw, MI. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.