Friday, February 09, 2007

On the new autism report...

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.


Hammer said...

Hey ABB- Come visit me in the netherlands in September. . .here's a seminar on Autism you can attend!


Hammer said...

Hey ABB: Sorry to bombard you with comments: here's a nice blog I thought you might be interested in!

She discusses Holland's and Spain's autism rates (which are similar to the US).


Shark-fu said...

Ah, if I could only afford the travel!


Thanks for the links and info!

Anonymous said...

If you think about it, 1 out of 150 is less than one percent of children affected.

cats said...

and because it is a spectrum disorder (meaning it covers such a wide range of developmental disorders)it's even more complicated.

my 4 1/2 yr old son is severely autistic and also had to be designated mentally retarded to be eligible for benefits... of course those benefits are for later because he's not entitled to any yet.

my real hope is that more people will start to understand autism and all the different facets of it. he's not typical... he loves contact and is very people oriented. most people assume that if you are autistic you can't stand to be touched. but it is different for every person with this disorder...

well, now i am rambling. thanks for keeping this issue a discussion and for sharing about your brother.

The Angry Independent said...

Two Words...

Pharmaceutical Industry

(ask yourself, who benefits?). The drug industry is behind a lot of these studies... because it boosts their sales. The more disorders...or variations of disorders that can be created, identified, etc = more drug products to treat the conditions.