Thanks to everyone who forwarded news reports and articles about the recent CDC study that indicates higher rates of autism (1 in every 150) in America than previously estimated.
I am, as always, concerned that this report does not appear to compare United States autism diagnosis rates with any international estimate. Without that, we have no way of knowing if these rates are higher than normal or average.
Autism is not, after all, only an American disorder.
Just as it does not benefit our understanding of autism to not have study comparisons with other countries, which might help us eliminate or identify environmental factors as a cause, it also does not benefit us to assume that these CDC adjusted numbers are the gospel and that we have an ‘epidemic’ of autism that is expanding rapidly like the plague.
My hope is that this study will spark a complex discussion of this complex disorder.
Every diagnosis is a start…a beginning…followed by needs for treatment, properly funded education programs, counseling and support for families.
We hope that every person represented by these numbers will be blessed to turn 21, at which age they will need all manner of social and medical supports that currently do not exist for adult autistics like my brother.
In short, this study represents the CDC finally hearing the starting gun of a race that began years ago.
Its way past time we all lace up and get about the business of running.