Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana


April 28, 2013

Time to solve the autism puzzle

BATESVILLE — This column was submitted by  Luke Messer.

We once lived in a world where polio was an epidemic that killed kids and left others with debilitating paralysis.  Thankfully, for most of today’s world, medical and scientific advances have virtually eliminated this threat and many other once dreaded diseases.  

Sadly, our nation is in the midst of another epidemic.  Our understanding of autism remains an unsolved puzzle.  This month is National Autism Awareness Month, and in recognition of this important cause, I am joining the Coalition for Autism Research and Education.  

This congressional member organization is dedicated to raising awareness about autism and highlighting the many issues facing the autism community.  This disease desperately needs better treatments.  And, families that deal with the challenges of autism need better community understanding about the disease and the profound impact it has on their lives.

I know firsthand the impact on the parents and siblings of those with autism because my nephew, Trey, is autistic.  He is a wonderful young man, but I have seen the challenges he faces and the struggles my brother’s entire family endures on a daily basis as a result of this illness. Simple things are difficult.  Family outings can be unpredictable.  It is unquestionably a challenge for all of them.  Yet, their family sticks together, and they are heroes in my book for all they do to give Trey a high quality life while balancing the schedule of a typical young family.

Autism is a spectrum of complex neurological disorders marked by social impairments, communication difficulties and repetitive behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 88 children has been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Boys are four times more likely than girls to have such a disorder.  

No one knows for sure what causes autism.  Scientists believe that both genetics and environmental factors play key roles in its manifestation.  There is no cure for autism, at least not yet, though early intervention, therapy, medicine, and behavioral treatments may lessen or remedy some symptoms.  Those with autism usually need supportive services their entire lives, especially to help them live and work independently.

Congress enacted landmark legislation to combat autism in 2006.  The law, which has since been extended, expanded and intensified autism research.  But more must be done.  Barriers to data sharing between agencies need to be broken down.  Surveillance and research needs to be better coordinated.  Funding should be properly targeted to do the most good.

What we do know is that autism affects too many children, strains too many families, and puts those it afflicts at an educational, professional, and social disadvantage compared to their peers.  It is time to commit ourselves to solving this modern epidemic so autism can be prevented, treated, and cured tomorrow like polio is today.

Luke Messer is the Congressman for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, a 19 county region of east-central and southeastern Indiana comprised of manufacturing and agricultural communities.


Text Only
  • opn - bv081914 - LaMar, Nate Renewing Ex-Im Bank's charter can grow Indiana jobs The Export-Import Bank of the United States (commonly known as Ex-Im) is under attack. This is despite the fact that, as a public corporation, Ex-Im made a 2013 profit of $1.06 billion, which was contributed to the federal government’s net revenue. E

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council member questions consultant's advice Dear Editor,I would like to clarify why I recommended a maximum 5 percent sewer rate increase at the last city council and board of works meetings vs. the Indianapolis consultant’s recommendation of 15 percent.At the end of 2013, the wastewater utili

    August 19, 2014

  • opn - bv081914 - Ziemke Hoosier Homestead Now Meyers a part of Hoosier ag history As some of you may know, I come from a very large family. I am one of the youngest of nine children and have fond memories of all of us growing up and working on our family farm. As a child, I was not always aware of the history that I was surrounded

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitchforks in our summer of discontent INDIANAPOLIS - Congress is ... embarrassing. Our political system is failing us.On an individual basis, many of us have respect for members of our delegation. We can have a common sense conversation with a senator, congressman or woman, and then they

    August 19, 2014

  • Watch for suicide's warning signs Terre Haute native Tommy John understands all too well how the pain of depression can lead a talented entertainer like Robin Williams to commit suicide.Like Williams, John achieved national fame, posting 288 victories as a major league baseball pitch

    August 15, 2014

  • More pool parties planned for future More pool parties planned for future Dear Editor,What a party it was! Nearly 500 people joined us at the Batesville Memorial Pool for the Back to School Bash. The event started at 3 p.m. and ended at midnight.A sincere thank-you goes out to the mayor

    August 15, 2014

  • Science camp a success Science camp a success Dear Editor,On behalf of the Explore 2 Learn Children’s Museum’s Board of Directors and Events Committee, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the teachers, sponsors and parents who made it possible for 81 area student

    August 15, 2014

  • No Headline Provided Dear Editor, We would like to thank everyone who supported our VFW Day in any way. The money made will be used to support our many programs which help our veterans and active military. If you would like more information or would like to join our org

    August 15, 2014

  • Give nonprofits relief from IRS delays A flurry of scandal has recently surrounded the Internal Revenue Service.Over the past few months, we have learned about missing e-mails from IRS employees and revelations of clear bias and hostility by a top IRS official towards organizations with c

    August 15, 2014

  • Public safety workers close ranks around gay, lesbian colleagues INDIANAPOLIS – Jason Miller has spent 15 years in a job he loves. He’s an emergency medical technician working two jobs as a first responder, and he’s training to become a firefighter in Kokomo.Miller loves the reward of helping others and the camara

    August 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.