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Living with Autism


March 29, 2014

Autism Rates Don't Make Sense

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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has "estimated 1 in 68 US children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."


The "number of U.S. children with autism has surged," according to CDC. 


Read CDC's recently released report: "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum disorder Among Children 8 years old--Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 sites, United States, 2010."

Yes, you read correctly. The report is based on 8-year old children in a few different states. This is not quality research. This is lazy, low-level thinking research. 

More like a drive-by glance at a group of people standing on the corner of a street in a large metropolis, then basing everything you saw on that one group. 

Interestingly, CDC, to their credit, did not state in their "press release" that autism rates are: 1 in 68 US children, but rather the mainstream press stated it's 1 in 68 US Children. 

CDC clearly stated, "1 in 68 children in multiple communities in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder." 

Specifically, if you actually read the report, it's 11 states sampled. So, it's NOT literally 1 in 68 children in the USA. 

Furthermore, CDC's press release says that the 2010 autism study recently released, is based on... 

..."information collected from the health and special education records of children who were 8-years old and lived in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin." What about the other states? 

Still more, CDC admits they were "not able to verify the birth certificates" of some of the children who were included in this "surveillance system" type research. 

"Surveillance" meaning researchers read a few children's special education and health records. A review of records. There was no observational studying going on. No questions. No investigation. 

CDC also admits, "Some educational and health records were MISSING for certain children, including records that could not be LOCATED for review." Well, shit. That's always helpful in conducting a quality investigation that you share with the non-fact-checking press. Missing information. Spectacular.  

CDC further stated that they chose some children to review, based off an autism diagnosis as per a generic "billing code" used at some healthcare sites, though the code wasn't specifically for autism. WASN'T...for autism. So we don't really know if these kids surveyed were even autistic. 

Equally delightfully helpful in gaining a better understanding of autism rates in the USA. Thank you for your diligent human effort to help us all understand alleged  skyrocketing rates of autism. 

 (See CDC website, "10 Things to Know About New Autism Data)

If you care to read it, read the actual report on the CDC site. 

It says researchers looked at 5,300 EIGHT-year old children's health records, across 11 states of the U.S.A. One age group. A small number. In 11 states. 

Not one 8 year old was directly observed. Not one parent was interviewed. All the CDC research did was review health and special education reports of 5,300, 8-year old children, in 11 different states.

Flashback to 2012, CDC released a similar autism study that created media buzz and panic, claiming that 1 in 88 children in the U.S. were autistic. 

Yep, back in 2012, CDC actually said "in the U.S." on their website, much to the chagrin of some researchers who knew this was not an accurate statement, since the CDC didn't do a true epidemiological study. 

One neuroscience researcher even called into question the study,

"It's not a representative sampling of the United States. If you don't use a representative population, then your findings don't generalize to the whole population," said Mike Milham, a neuroscience researcher at the Child Mind Institute in New York. 

So don't panic. Autism rates aren't on the rise. 

What IS on the rise is an epidemic of children who aren't truly autistic being slapped with the autism diagnosis, or squeaking into autism programs with another diagnosis, so they can get services. 

Not that these children don't need services, but if they aren't autistic, they should be getting services in programs designed for their actual needs. Autism is not a bandwagon you jump on. It's a serious medical diagnosis that leaves families in constant chaos trying to get services. The last thing we need is for people who aren't autistic getting services intended for people with autism. 

 Here's something that may shock you: 

According to a July, 2011 news report, 

"Some parents and doctors are colluding to deliberately misdiagnose school children as autistic so they can get help for other problems, a medical professional claims."  

Clinical psychologist and manager of diagnostic assessment services at Autism Spectrum Australia, Vicki Gibbs, said there were various reasons for the surge in the number of children diagnosed with autism. 'The most obvious is that people are more aware of it than before and people are also more aware of the more subtle forms of autism. Another reason is autism now attracts more funding, especially in the early intervention yearsMs Gibbs said there was a small group of people happy to have their children diagnosed with autism because giving them a label was the only way they could get help." Great, so they got an autism label to get services, not because their child is really autistic. Awesome. 

I find it hard to believe doctors would "collude" to deliberately misdiagnose a child with autism. Perhaps some doctors don't understand what true autism is, so they misdiagnose the child after a pushy parent pushes a diagnosis to get services. 

Whatever the reason, there is never an excuse to label someone autistic when they aren't really autistic, so the person can "get services."

"Many children with related health issues--ADD, ADHD and speech or developmental delays---are getting autism diagnoses early on and then losing them as they mature..."  In essence, they were NEVER autistic to begin with.



1 comment:

Willie Ford said...

The over all rate is about 1 in 200 based on a scholarly article I read that estimated 1.5 children and adult with autism in USA.

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