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With one in 88 children and one in 54 boys affected by autism, the world’s leading science and advocacy organization for the condition is calling upon the nation’s leaders to address what it calls a public health emergency.

“We have an epidemic on our hands,” said Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, referring to new statistics issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “The costs [of dealing with autism] are staggering and will continue to rise,” he said, adding, “We know that early diagnosis and treatment are critical, so it is imperative that the US government step up its commitment to help people living with autism today.”

Autism Speaks calls for the development of a national action plan that includes:

  • Increased funding for science to uncover the genetic underpinnings of autism
  • Increased funding for research to detect the causes of the disease
  • Accelerated funding and development of effective medicines and treatments
  • A strategy where all kids with autism are diagnosed by 18 months, at the latest
  • A National Training Corps to recruit therapists, service providers and specially trained teachers and teacher assistants
  • A strategy to address the growing needs of adults with autism, including continuing education, employment, housing and community integration

“We need the president, public health agencies and representatives from both sides of the aisle to come together,” Wright said, and then added: “A national emergency needs a national strategy. Anything less won’t be enough.” 

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Emily Hoppin

A native from the state of Colorado, USA, Emily first came to Lebanon in 2016 to volunteer teach at a summer English camp for refugees hosted by one of LSESD’s partner churches in Zahle. Upon arriving in Lebanon, she immediately fell in love with the country and knew that she was destined to come back for the long term. After completing her master’s degree in Linguistics at the Free University of Berlin, Emily was finally able to realize her dream of moving to Lebanon. In August 2019, Emily Hoppin joined the LSESD team as its Communications Officer. “Working at LSESD is like putting that missing piece into a puzzle. For the first time in my life, everything fits,” she states. With a knack for languages, writing, and connecting with people, Emily feels as though all of her skills, talents, and passions have finally come together in one place through her work at LSESD. Just as her first name means “industrious”, Emily believes in hard work and perseverance. Allowing Colossians 3:23 to guide her work ethic, Emily seeks to serve the Lord in her role at LSESD with all of her heart, mind, soul, and strength.

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