H.C.R. NO.



S.D. 1














WHEREAS, this body finds that autism is part of a complex group of neurodevelopmental disorders, collectively called autism spectrum disorders; and


WHEREAS, autism involves delays in and problems with social interactions, language, and a range of emotional, cognitive, motor, and sensory abilities that vary according to where the individual falls on the spectrum ranging from mild impairments to severe disabilities; and


WHEREAS, the diagnosis of autism in an individual transcends all social, religious, socio-economic, and geographic boundaries; and


WHEREAS, based on statistics reported by the United States Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a startling rate of ten to seventeen percent per year; and


WHEREAS, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that autism affects as many as one in every eighty-eight children, and studies show that over the last twelve years, the prevalence of autism has dramatically increased by 289.5 percent; and


WHEREAS, at the rate autism is growing, the Autism Society of America estimates that the prevalence of autism could reach four million Americans in the next decade; and


WHEREAS, the Hawaii Department of Education's Special Education Section offers educational services to students with autism and works with families and students to develop an individualized education plan; and


WHEREAS, in 1994, the Department of Education had seventy-one children, ages six to twenty-one years, with autism who were eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and that number increased to 1,064 by 2010; and


WHEREAS, in 2010, the Department of Education served an additional two hundred thirty-four eligible, school-aged children with autism, ages three to five, through the Department's preschool special education programs; and


WHEREAS, the Department of Health provided intensive behavioral support services to one hundred sixty-five children with autism spectrum disorders, up to age three, through its Early Intervention Section; and


WHEREAS, while there is no cure for autism, early identification of developmental concerns allows parents to seek intervention during the crucial period of early development; and


WHEREAS, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Hawaii Chapter, Inc., released a position paper stating that there should be specific screening for autism spectrum disorders at eighteen, twenty-four, and thirty-six months of age and recommends that the screening be done through the use of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers; and


WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities launched a public awareness campaign called "Learn the Signs. Act Early.", which aims to educate parents about childhood development, including early warning signs of autism and other developmental disabilities, and encourages developmental screening and intervention; and


WHEREAS, the Hawaii Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program and autism groups in Hawaii are supporting and undertaking the "Learn the Signs. Act Early." campaign; and


WHEREAS, providing widespread information is necessary to educate parents, professionals, and the general public about autism, its effects, and the critical importance of early developmental screening and intervention; now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2012, the Senate concurring, that this body proclaim the month of April of each year as "Autism Awareness Month" in Hawaii; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the month of April of every year serve as a special opportunity to educate the people of Hawaii about autism, to increase awareness of the importance of screening through the "Learn the Signs. Act Early." campaign, and to encourage families with children, ages eighteen to twenty-four months, throughout the State of Hawaii to have screenings at well child visits with their pediatric health care provider; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Director of Health, Superintendent of Education, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Autism Society of America, Inc., The Autism Society of Hawaii, Autism Speaks Inc., Talk About Curing Autism, Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii, Autism/PDD Family Support Group, Autism Support for Kauai, Kauai Autism/PDD Family Support Group, Hawaii Families As Allies, Autism Awareness Puna A Family Support Group, Military Parents Autism Support Group for all branches of service, Exceptional Family Member Program, Community Children's Councils, and Hawaii Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program.

Report Title:

Autism Awareness Month; April; Outreach and Awareness on Autism