More kids are given this diagnosis because the list of diagnostic criteria has been expanded to include more symptoms then it used to.
Here in NJ it is one in 29 boys are on the spectrum. I guesss my question is kinda, what the hell is going on???
More kids are given this diagnosis because the list of diagnostic criteria has been expanded to include more symptoms then it used to.
With such a large population on this planet, we're bound to get all kinds of different types of people. As technology opens more doors for us, we become more enlightened to theses differences.
Just my opinion.
the most popular answer is that it's always been here in the same numbers, but now we measure and have diagnostic tools to help us recognize it.
i believe that's part of the answer.
but i also know what i've seen in my lifetime, and that's a LOT more autism. and cancer, for that matter. i think it's very ostrich-in-the-sand to dismiss it as a numbers game. there's just no way that what we're doing to our food chain, air, water, and earth aren't impacting us.
Nothing... we (meaning the clinical field) are just widening the umbrella of "the spectrum" to include all of the "quirky kids" that we come across. Two hundred years ago, children with (what we would now call) Autism were institutionalized and considered "manic" or experiencing "early onset schizophrenia". Same kids... 200 years later are integrated into our communities and schools and diagnosed with Autism or another spectrum disorder.
Consider Asperger's Syndrome for a moment... it didn't "appear" until it was first described in 1944. It appeared in the diagnostic manuals after 1981. Think of the number of people you know who would be considered (in the clinical sense) to have Asperger's, but who were in school with us in the 80's and 90's so they do not carry a diagnosis.
My husband and his twin brother are great examples. We joke about it now, but we both know that if he were in elementary school now, he'd be diagnosed with Asperger's and probably have a 504 plan or a related services IEP. 30 years ago? No way.
Not more individuals who meet the diagnostic criteria in the world... just a more broad diagnostic criteria that is "catching" more people!
- A broader definition.
- Understanding of symptoms
- Understanding of treatments
"Before" a child would be brilliant but cold, quick as a whip but a bit strange, a bit daft, touched, not quite right if ya' know what I mean, slow, sickly, a simpleton, the village idiot, retarded, severely retarded, possessed.
Is there an increase percentage wise? Sort of. Imagine we didn't have a name for the color blue. We couldn't see it. We saw it as a strange shade of red. A really deficient yellow. Then all of a sudden, we can see blue. We name it. We see how it blends with red to make purple. We can now see purple. It blends with yellow to make green. We can now see green. Because we can SEE IT, we start to see how far reaching it is. The better we understand blue, the more we understand how prevalent it is.
Look back in literature, in history, and you'll see the autism spectrum. Aspies, other forms of HFA, abound in intellectual circles. Those of us with neurological disorders... LOL...We really aren't quite right. We see the world differently. ADHD works very differently than autism spectrum (you find more of 'my' people as adventurers/artists/absent minded professors than in the brilliant circles that HFA folk run in), but I bring this up, because we're a minority that is just 'different' from neurotypical folk. Not better, not worse (usually), just different.
HFA folk tend to rise to enormous positions of power in arenas requiring logic, precision, planning and "thick skin". Not recognizing social cues that keep a person's ambition down to not rock the boat tends to shoot people skyward (or drop them like a rock). They make up the spine of the tech world today, but are also in cyphers, intelligence analysis, filmmaking (directoral or highly technical), music, medicine, sports tracking, safecracking, hydraulics, city planning.... Any AREA/FIELD (maths, sciences, arts, pick an area, any area)... has positions in which an HFA mind will rise head and shoulders above all others. The intense focus, the obsessions, the innate understanding of things that others struggle.
Is HFA genetic? Possibly. In which case we may find a true rise. Because HFA folk were often confirmed bachelors and spinsters in past centuries. Far from always, merely often. Nowadays both with social therapies and better understanding, HFA folk are more 'mainstreamed', but also, our population is putting HFA folk together. Can't swing a cat in Microsoft without hitting HFA folk. Getting a minority together in one place, and that minority nearly always starts making connections with others. So they begin often to date, fall in love, get married, have kids. If there's a genetic component, then their kids are also more likely to be HFA. That needs another 2 generations to prove definitively unless science bounds ahead.
Similarly, lower on the spectrum (midway, really)... a HUGE number of children who were 'throwaways' are now not just 'luck of the draw' to be born to a parent who innately understands what will help them... but we have entire fields of practitioners to help caring parents, and to help their children reach heights with just a few "simple" (ha! note I'm not saying 'fast' just 'simple') tricks. Sensory integration therapy, social therapy, emotional regulation. These are kids who would grow up to no future. The lowest strata of society, always needing to be care for or only given the most menial jobs... who are now advancing into careers and families and opportunities that were impossible for them not so very long ago.
It's as key in Austism as birth control was for feminism. It's unspeakably huge. Life altering.
On the lowest end of the spectrum, there still isn't much help or much hope. My cousin, for example, is extremely low spectrum autism. He's 30's in diapers and at best is on the level of a 2yo. But he's happy and healthy, and so are his parents. Because of the much greater help and understanding that exists with autism. For LFA kids born recently, sooooo much more is available for them and their families than was available 30 years ago. But it's easy to imagine my cousin 50, 100, 500 years ago. And his parents. In another 50 years? Who knows.
Neurology is a very new science. Our understanding of the brain is sooooooo limited. Just barely starting out. Baby steps.
We're only JUST starting to see blues.
My hubby and I were discussing this yesterday. I often look at how we live now compared to how we lived as children (I am 41 and he is 47).
1. We did not used as much plastic. Everything came in glass jars and bottles.
2. They did not use as many preservatives in the foods and dyes and stuff like that.
3. We didn't eat prepackaged foods all the time. Having a TV dinner (yes that’s what they were called back in the day) was a treat and it can in a medal tray that went into the oven.
4. We didn’t use microwaves, cell phones and all the electronics they have now.
5. People didn’t take as many OTC or prescription drugs.
6. They only gave 3 vaccines until the late 70’s, Polio, DPT and Tetanus. They stopped giving Smallpox in the late 60’s because it was spreading the disease.
7. We did not have a wide array of chemical products that were used daily, like cleaners, makeup, soaps and other stuff.
I am sure there could be more contributors like cars and aircraft etc. I know they say this is genetics but I think there is more to it than that. These numbers are for the US ONLY so we are doing something that is hurting our children. If you talk to a teacher or doctor that has been practicing/working since the early 80’s they too will tell you something in not right here.
It would help if people would actually read the CDC press release rather than just rely on news reports and hearsay.
According to the CDC: "SOME of this increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors is unknown." My emphasis added.
If the CDC could attribute ALL or most of the increase in prevalence to better identification/diagnosis they certainly would because it would put alot of minds to rest (i.e., our healh officials understand what's going on and can help). But they can't do it because the DATA IS NOT THERE AND THEY DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON.
Our children (not just our autism kids) are increasingly sick and dependent on prescription meds to function day-to-day. Something is going on.
If one in 88 kids were gradually but steadily losing their vision at a young age there would be a huge uproar in this country. It's time for us to really look at what we're doing to this next generation. They are eating food stripped of nutrients, drinking water filled with fluoride and antibiotics and God knows what else, and becoming pin cushions for the vaccine industry (compare their vaccine schedule to what we got as kids). It's criminal what is being done to CHILDREN in the name of more money.
I'm sorry to be so irate but I personally witnessed my child recover and come back from what was done to him. I get so sick of people glibly announcing "BETTER DIAGNOSIS" when I know in my heart and soul it is WAY more than that.
WAKE UP BEFORE IT'S YOUR OWN KID, or your nieces/nephews, or grand-kids. They are our future. They will have to dig this country out of the enormous mess we're in.
Sunday begins Autism Awareness Month in the US and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. So, of course right now things are making the news more so than at another times of the year.
I won't play the statistics game. Autism diagnoses are rising. There are MANY factors that contribute to the increased rate of diagnosis. One primary reason is that since this is a Spectrum Disorder, the various degrees of impact are always being reevaluated. How bad is bad enough to require treatment? The answer a parent may give you will differ greatly from the answer a bean counter for an insurance agency might give you. Autism has become a power word. Autism gets a response better than PDD-NOS (which use to be the goto diagnosis for kids with many of the same symptoms.)
Your question will likely spark some discussion over cause. Everyone wants to know What causes Autism? Can it be cured? Well, the fact of the matter is there is NO science to determine causation, and there is a bit of a debate whether the notion of "cure" is even applicable. Check out the "neurodiversity" movement. It's quite eye-opening.
My son is four and Autistic. I have hope for his future. I want great things for him. I constantly ask myself "Great things by whose measure?" There is where we could all get tripped up. I want him to be happy. When he is in one of his stimming cycles, laughing while staring off at nothing I can perceive, I sometimes think he may be the happiest kid on the planet. Just because I am not doesn't diminish to beauty that is the world he lives in.
Sorry, I feel like I'm rambling. You ask a BIG question. So many degrees of severity on the spectrum, and for each one you will probably find a parent/caregiver/professional who deals with it on a daily basis and has a very different take.
I read a quote from another parent of a kiddo on the spectrum, which I love dearly. "I wouldn't change my kid for the world. But I will change the world for my kid."
ETA: Some people contend that every quirky kid now falls under the spectrum. This is NOT true! I know many parents whose children may be receiving Speech Therapy, OT, or some other "treatment" that do not have a diagnosis of Autism. Just a "delay." It's not always an *easy* diagnosis to get your doctors to sign off on. (And without the diagnosis, the cost of these treatments can be staggering.)
Autism has always been around, it just didn't have a name or a widely recognized name back when we were growing up. As a friend of mine pointed out, the weird kid you remember from your elementary school or high school class was most likely on the spectrum. Of course, no one had a clue what "the spectrum" was back then.
That said, there are probably some environmental triggers going on as well. Or a combination or environmental and genetic factors. Who knows? Maybe the fact that older and older people are having children may have some effect too (I can say that because I'm an older mom myself ;)). In any case, it's kind of scary to see those statistics.
This is a very informative website. It explains what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has discovered about Autism, and how she HEALED her child! Many other parents have also had great success. Of course, it's healing with food (mainly), so the US is not going to embrace this due to the fact that big pharma nor government agencies will profit from it. HOWEVER, it makes excellent sense :)
First of all, there was "Autism before". The term Autism has been in use since 1900. So, the diagnosis has been used for over 100 years. There are stories of people earlier than this that could have fit the diagnosis. The science of psychology is relatively young, so there are still significant changes being made in the standard diagnoses and understanding of human behavior.
Asperger's Syndrome and PDD-NOS are being included in the numbers of children with Autism in this study. Expanding the diagnostic criteria, and more awareness and earlier diagnosis together do not explain the rapid increase that we are seeing in this country, and some other countries. Genetics are the only factor that has been proven to be part of the risk factor. Other research is going on, but has not demonstrated any scientifically significant results yet.
This article describes several things that could be "going on":
They stopped giving the smallpox vaccination because smallpox was ERADICATED - by a world wide vaccination program. NOT because it was spreading the disease. Happy Day!
Part of the increase in autism is likely increased recognition and the inclusion of people on the 'spectrum' who previously existed but likely were just the 'geeky' kid or the mildly socially inept kid or your slightly strange Uncle Ernie. I think many of those people would carry a diagnosis today. I am not sure that a label is always good either.
My younger son is PDD or Autism spectrum. His father was classified as ADHD, I assure you they are exactly alike.
So good news there is probably a decline in the diagnosis of ADHD! :p
Personally I have no clue what is going on, and honestly right now I don't care. Here's why: they(the medical profession)do not know what causes autism to begin with in most individuals. For instance, my son is 5 and autistic, I believe he was born with it. Do I know what caused it? No, of course and I will never know.
I believe that the umbrella has been opened wider and now autism in all its varieties are being taken notice of at earlier ages and within the general population overall. It is sad that now this has become almost a numbers games instead of a let's figure out what's truly causing autism and deal with the rise at the same time. I hope that in my lifetime the reason(s) for autism is discovered but truthfully I doubt that will happen.
I don't mean to sound so cold about this, but the fact is that there are way too many unknowns in the autism world and I don't foresee questions being answered anytime soon.
Genetically modified foods?
Sensationalized journalism is what's going on.
Measuring it doesn't mean there's any more or less of it than there use to be.
everything needs a label...
Part is diagnosis tweaking, part is genetics, part is ? - they don't know everything about it. And the Amish population (per someone's reply) is a pretty closed population, so if genetics plays a part and it wasn't in the gene pool, it's not really going to be there. I wouldn't be surprised if environmental factors (overcrowding, overstimulation, chemicals we're exposed to) have a lot to do with things, so I could see that being a factor - life is significantly different and we've been exposed to a lot of stuff that wasn't around 30-50 years ago. Who knows?
My husband found this link and I book marked it. Maybe we need to look at how the Amish do things vs. what we do.
I agree with Dana K. Every learning disability or quirky kid now comes "under the spectrum."
yeah, it's weird isn't it? Why was there never Autism before? Is it a change in our food? Weather? School? Or was it a secret years ago?
I have no idea...
...but I have to wonder about whether it has something to do with something in all our processed foods or something in all the plastic that surrounds us and all that we do...but that is just my layman worrying brain.