* This is a contributed article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of IBTimes.

Elon Musk, Albert Einstein, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, all had something in common - they were all autistic. Imagine how different our world would have been had they ever been discouraged to excel because they listened to the ridicule and criticism they faced as young children, only because no one understood their behavior.

In the year 2000, the number of people born in the US with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) was 1 in 150. Today, that number has increased to a shocking 1 in 44. We are now looking at a future where every single person will have their lives touched by autism. So, why isn't anything being done to prepare for this?

ASD is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD may have different ways of communicating, interacting, learning, moving, or even paying attention for long periods of time. This, however, does not mean that they are no less intelligent than the rest of us. In fact, they may even be geniuses.

Saba Torabian
Saba Torabian

Autism rarely gets the spotlight unless it's being used to delegitimize vaccines, although awareness has been growing in recent years. This is most likely due to the increased number of people who are living with the disorder or have a family member or friend who has been diagnosed. Naturally, there is now more understanding among the public conscious.

Understanding, however, is not enough. Concrete actions must be taken for both those on the spectrum and those who care for them to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps in the right direction.

The question is, who should be the ones to shoulder that responsibility? In one sense, it should be a collective effort. However, I believe that in this modern world where corporations hold increasingly more power, the billionaires in Silicon Valley should be doing more to support the aid and treatment of those with ASD, especially since math and technology may be found to be a strong skill in autistic children and ultimately help those companies grow.

I have personally reached out to Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates and asked for support but to no avail. I have also written to Oprah and Dr. Phil in the hopes of using their platforms to reach a wider audience, yet I was met with a deafening silence. Not only are the voices of those with ASD not being heard, they are also being actively ignored.

Research shows that during childhood, those with ASD can embrace mechanisms that will allow them to succeed as adults, despite the mental challenges they face.

Currently, there is not nearly enough support for families who have children with ASD. This leaves them facing long waiting lists, stretched medical staff, and abandonment from receiving the treatment they need. The few centers that are available in supporting those with ASD are facing a rapidly increased demand which they don't have the capacity for. It should be considered criminal that those with so many resources give so little to a real and extremely consequential problem.

Those with ASD have specific needs, so you can't have a one-size-fits-all solution. It is essential that we have centers that can facilitate those needs and patients don't have to face year-long waiting lists to receive diagnosis. ASD is a daily struggle and having to wait so long for support is unacceptable.

Companies like Apple, Google, Meta, and Amazon continually have many employees that are affected by ASD, therefore it's baffling that they aren't doing more.

A simple pocket change donation from their profits would benefit thousands, or even millions of people, where it would also be in their best interest to do so. If 1 in 44 children have ASD, then we're approaching a future where almost one third of adults will be on the spectrum. If support isn't put in place in early years, then we will be faced with a large autistic population that will not have the right tools to function in an already difficult world.

With the right support, even those with the most severe cases of ASD can live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Without it, that same life can be a series of struggles, challenges, and isolation.

Big tech companies cannot sit idly by and allow those who are suffering day-by-day go unattended when they have the means to help. All they need to do is look out the window to see the real-world challenges that these individuals and their families face. Even the simple act of donating some much-needed technology to improve the day-to-day communication issues for those with ASD face would really change their lives for the better.

Silicon Valley has the means to support schools that can accommodate students with ASD, giving the essential education and training to staff that are overwhelmingly underprepared to give ASD students the best start in life.

These major companies also have the capability to fund projects to establish centers which can give the proper diagnosis that families wait years for. These centers can give those with ASD a place where they can enjoy life, provide the safety and security that can allow them to thrive, and give the necessary support and education to families so they may learn how to better care for their loved ones.

Finally, autism shouldn't be viewed as a social and professional death sentence. These children are not lost causes nor a burden. They are just as valuable and integral to society as every one of us. Many of them just lack the support and understanding they deserve and I urge all who have the means to do so to help these children reach their max potential. In the end, we are all responsible if we fail them and do nothing.

About the author

Dr. Saba Torabian is the proud mother of two autistic children and the founder of ICAN: Intervention Center for Autism Needs