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Website Home April 24, 2014
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New Autism Prevalence Data Showing 30% Increase in Two Years

Last month, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to rise. The new rate of 1 in 68 reflects a 30% increase from two years ago when the CDC released data that 1 in 88 children has autism. The Arc released a statement on this startling data which can be found on The Arc’s blog.

April is national Autism Awareness Month and The Arc and The Autism NOW Center are working to empower people with ASD with information and resources. View and share a new video about Autism NOW and follow the latest news online on Autism NOW’s blog by reading personal stories of people with autism in a series of guest posts shared throughout April.

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Starting a Conversation About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention An Open Letter to The Arc About Wings for Autism The Arc Launches Exciting New Diversity Initiative
As Alcohol Awareness Month comes to an end, it gives us an opportunity to start a conversation about the single most common cause of I/DD that is 100% preventable, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is entirely preventable if women do not drink alcohol while pregnant.

FASD includes a range of effects which can have a lifelong impact on children and their families. Some studies have found that 25% to 50% of women report drinking alcohol while pregnant. Research with health care providers and women of childbearing age indicates that many professionals advise women that light to moderate consumption of alcohol is safe. Yet the Centers for Disease Control clearly state there is no safe amount of alcohol consumption while pregnant.

The Arc continues to be a leader in educating health care professionals about alcohol-exposed pregnancy and changes in clinical practice to better prevent FASD. To learn more, visit the FASD Prevention Project page.
This year, Wings for Autism™ began national expansion with events in Seattle, Washington, Jacksonville, Florida, and Anchorage, Alaska. Wings for Autism™, one of The Arc’s newest national initiatives, is an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, their families and aviation professionals. This experience is equally useful for families that have a member with I/DD that are concerned about the ability of their family member to travel.

The program’s first few events have been extremely successful, with more than 300 families participating in total. One mother who participated in an event at the Ted Stevens Airport in Anchorage, Alaska shared her personal experience with staff of The Arc’s national office. To read her open letter to The Arc visit our blog. Also, check the Wings for Autism website to find out about upcoming events near you.
The Arc is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant for $100,000 from the MetLife Foundation to make the programs, services and supports offered by chapters of The Arc nationwide more accessible to culturally diverse populations with I/DD and their family members, and to ensure that Chapters of The Arc are addressing the needs of the different cultures in their communities. To achieve these goals, The Arc will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the cultural competence within the network of nearly 700 chapters.

This assessment will include substantial input from The Arc’s chapters as well as from current and potential stakeholders in ethnically and culturally diverse communities across the country. In the course of the assessment, The Arc will collect information about best practices in serving a culturally diverse population drawn from the disability field, as well as health care, social services and other non-profit and for-profit industry segments. To learn more about the project visit The Arc’s blog.
Celebrate Champions!
Do you know someone who is a champion for individuals with I/DD? Show them you appreciate their efforts by making a gift in honor of them today!

When you give a gift to The Arc, you are validating the efforts of the champions of our movement, who are striving with us every day for the full inclusion and independence of people with I/DD. Your gift will help us continue our work no matter how small or large the donation. Your gift is acknowledged with a card sent to the recipient or their family letting them know that a donation has been made in their honor.

Thank you for your continued support. You are a true champion of The Arc! To read more about The Arc's champions visit our champions page.
Advocates Gather for the 38th Annual Disability Policy Seminar
This month, a crowd of more than 700 advocates came together in Washington D.C. April 7-9 for the annual Disability Policy Seminar to learn about the most pressing issues in public policy affecting people with I/DD and to meet with their elected representatives to urge action. Attendees at this year’s event, hosted by The Arc, AAIDD, AUCD, NCADD, SABE and UCP, seized an opportunity to thank Congressional champions from the past and focus on cultivating new champions. Retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) urged a cheering crowd to continue to fight for the U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. And outgoing White House disability liaison Claudia Gordon energized participants with her remarks at a luncheon the day before advocates took their messages to Members of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.

Next year, DPS will take place on April 13-15 and the hope is to engage more advocates to get involved at the federal level.
The Arc’s Recycling Initiative - Creating Exciting New Job Opportunities
Over the last few years, The Arc’s recycling initiatives have created environments in which individuals with I/DD who want to work have the training and support they need to provide valuable recycling services to businesses and their communities. Last year, thanks to generous funding from the Alcoa Foundation, The Arc expanded these recycling initiatives to three new chapters. Each chapter’s program supports employment and skill development for individuals with I/DD and takes us closer to our goal of promoting the importance of recycling as a means for environmental sustainability in local communities. To learn more about what these chapters are doing, visit The Arc’s blog.
New Affordable Care Resources from the National Disability Navigator Collaborative
The National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC), of which The Arc is a member, has released two more fact sheets to help navigators and others better work with people with disabilities. The most recent fact sheets address prescription drugs and working with disability organizations. In addition to the series of fact sheets being produced by the collaborative, NDNRC also developed a disability guide.

The NDNRC is comprised of seven national disability organizations representing unique cross-disability experiences including The Arc, American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD), American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), and United Spinal Association. The NDNRC is funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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