There are many deserving causes, each one crying out for help. As Lions we recognise we cannot solve all the World’s problems – so we are taking them one at a time. Our focus is clearly on autism, and once autism is being well managed we Lions will choose our next challenge. And so it goes.

Lions to make life brighter for children with ASD

Imagine a life where you’re faced with constant problems interacting with others, have impaired communication and restricted interests as well as being daunted by the world because your senses are overloaded by ordinary sights and sounds.

That’s what life with autism is often like.

In mid-2013 statistics showed ASD affected one in 100 children, and the number continues to grow.

Signs of autism are generally clear before a child is three and are characterised by the five major internationally recognised red flags for autism, which are

  1. Does not babble or coo by 12 months of age
  2. Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp, etc.) by 12 months
  3. Does not say single words by 16 months
  4. Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own (rather than just repeating what someone says to him or her) by 24 months
  5. Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age.

Currently, there is no single known cause or cure for Autism, however recent research has identified links in genetics, brain structure and environmental impacts. It is important to note that ASD is not caused by an individual’s upbringing or their social circumstances.

The key, of course, to ensuring children get this chance is funding. Currently, there isn’t enough government funding for families with children with autism. As such, families are bearing the bulk of the annual $30,000 cost of treatment until the child goes to school.

Through the efforts of Lions across Australia and others, this situation appears to be changing with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. While the NDIS has been promised by both sides of parliament, we all know that promises are just talk until the rubber hits the road. Already we are hearing how there may not be enough in the budget to honour the government’s pledges. Lions will continue to bring focus on this very important area to ensure appropriate funding is provided for this crucial issue.