Updating Autism foundation

Published 8:10 pm Sunday, October 1, 2017

By Jason Swindle
Jason W. Swindle Sr. is a Senior Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney at Swindle Law Group in Carrollton.

In July, I wrote a column about the founding of the West Georgia Autism Foundation (WGAF).  Since then, there have been significant developments that need to be made public. 

Before I continue, some of you may wonder why this column, WGAF, or autism in our community is even important.  Most families do not have autistic children.  Why should anyone care? 

Here are some of the reasons why we should take notice:

• An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the U.S.  If we look at 1 million people, that would be 23,000 boys and 5,300 girls. Today, autism has a direct and substantial impact not only on families, but our entire community, governmental resources and economy. 

• Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

• Autism costs the nation over $238 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade.

• While there is no medical detection or known cure for autism, thousands of children have shown significant improvement resulting from early diagnosis and treatment.  Those families who cannot afford treatment, suffer in silence. 

The WGAF was created to step up and have a major impact in west Georgia.  The current counties we will serve include Carroll, Cobb, Douglas, Coweta, Paulding, Polk, Haralson, Heard and Troup.  Here is an update and where we are today.  The over $10,000 of donated seed money has allowed us to move at a quicker pace.

1.  Board – Our board of directors (BOD) consists of diverse and talented people.  We have therapists, law enforcement officers, grant writers, lawyers, experienced fundraisers, a nonprofit specialist, and others who are totally committed to carrying out our three primary functions;  raising money to financially support families, providing awareness about autism, and encouraging acceptance through education.

2.  Friends of the Foundation – This group of nationally known public figures has agreed to support, endorse, and increase awareness. 

3.  West Georgia Autism Documentary – The film production company, Felt, recently made a donation in the form of creating a documentary. 

4.  Relationship with Autism Speaks (AS) – AS is the most prominent autism organization in the country. After attending our last board meeting, AS committed to partnering with the WGAF in every way.

Jason W. Swindle Sr. is a Senior Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney at Swindle Law Group in Carrollton.