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Media Memo: Campus expert available to discuss Campus Autism Program

TO: News/Assignment Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume, Director

DATE: Oct. 5, 2009

SUBJECT: Campus expert available to discuss Campus Autism Program

A study published today (Oct. 5) in the journal Pediatrics indicates about 1 percent of children ages 3 to 17 have autism or a related disorder, an increase over previous estimates.

The study used data from the federal government's 2007 national survey of children's health. The survey of parents was conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings of nearly 1 in 100 show an increase from the average of 1 in 150 that was reported in 2003. The researchers said an increase in diagnoses does not necessarily mean that more children have the disorder, but could reflect a heightened awareness of the disorder.

Dr. Kevin Klatt
Dr. Kevin Klatt

Dr. Kevin Klatt, associate professor of psychology and director of UW-Eau Claire's Campus Autism Program, is available to talk about the university's efforts to meet the needs of young children in western Wisconsin who are diagnosed with autism and related disorders.

Dr. Klatt also can comment on the need to educate more professionals in Wisconsin who are qualified to treat children with autism. In 2004-05, there were 4,361 people in Wisconsin aged 3-12 identified as having autism and 19,086 people in the state identified as having other developmental disabilities, according to Klatt. Yet there are only nine people in Wisconsin with Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification and just 12 people with Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst certification, he said, adding that two of those with BCBA certification are on UW-Eau Claire's faculty.

Early behavioral intervention for children diagnosed with autism and related disorders has proven to be critical to help these children develop social and language skills that will enhance their lives, Klatt said.

You can contact Klatt at 715-836-3995 or klattkp@uwec.edu.

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