This is week four in my new series dedicated to raising awareness about Autism. My two nephews both have Autism so I'm passionate about this cause. But I'm also just baffled by how prevalent it is -- 1 in every 91 children today have Autism!

Today I'm going to talk about the desperate need for funds into further research as well as the difference between some of the organizations conducting and funding the research.

Funding for Autism is unbelievably disproportionate to the number of kids affected by it. To understand this, let's look at some other illnesses that affect children.

- Leukemia impacts the life of 1 child out of every 25,000. The private funding for Leukemia is approximately $310 million per year. If 1 out of 91 children are autistic, that means that there are 275 autistic children for every ONE child with leukemia.

- Muscular Dystrophy impacts the life of 1 child out of every 20,000. The private funding for Muscular Dystrophy is approximately $175 million per year. If 1 out of 20,000 suffers from muscular dystrophy, there are 220 autistic children for every ONE child with muscular dystrophy.

-Pediatric AIDS impacts the life of 1 child out of every 8,000. The private funding for Pediatric AIDS is approximately $394 million annually. There are 88 autistic children for every ONE child with Pediatric AIDS.

-Juvenile Diabetes impacts the life of 1 out of every 500 children. The private funding for Juvenile Diabetes is approximately $130 million annually. There
are approximately 5 children with autism for every child with Juvenile Diabetes.

There is no doubt that research for these diseases is EXTREMELY important. I don't want to undermine their importance in any way. But to put in perspective how under-funded research into Autism is -- only approximately $42 million in private funding is put toward Autism research every year. There is a desperate need for more funding.

As with any organizations, the organizations that raise and contribute money toward Autism research are different in their focus and where they allocate funds. I discovered this year that one of the largest organizations that does an amazing job raising funds - Autism Speaks - puts most of their research money toward genetics and neuro-imaging. But as we talked about last week, most of the likely causes of Autism are environmental and bio-medical in nature. For the last 3 years I've organized a team that has walked to raise money for Autism with Autism Speaks. But upon finding out that it isn't the organization that I believe is using it's money most wisely, I have decided to work with a different organization for our walk this year. The Autism Research Institute is doing amazing things not only for research into the bio-medical causes of Autism, but also for helping and equipping families to deal with Autism now. Their website is an absolute wealth of information. They partner with the ASU Research program that I talked about last week and put on an annual walk to raise funds. My team and I will be participating on September 25th. If you'd like to join us, you are more than welcome! And please, please, please consider donating to help us meet our goal of raising $2,500!! I would be hugely grateful!

Click here to donate or join our team and thanks again for reading!
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