Autism More Common in US Than Previously Thought

  1. washington (reuters) - autism is more common in the united states than anyone had estimated, affecting about one in every 150 children, the u.s. centers for disease control and prevention reported on thursday.

    cdc estimated that about 560,000 people up to age 21 in the united states have autism.
    "autism is more common than we believed and is an urgent public health concern," said catherine rice of the cdc's birth defects division, who helped lead the study...

    http://today.reuters.com/news/articl...&rpc=81&rpc=81
    Last edit by VickyRN on Mar 19, '07 : Reason: Fixed the link...
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   PeachPie
    While we're better off in the times when they were lumped into "mentally retarded," I still smell overprescription. My sister was always very detatched, and some of the school staff wanted to have her checked out because they suspected autism of some degree. My parents didn't see any problems with her (she didn't stare at rows of toys for hours or scream if you moved something), so they never bothered, rather seeing her as "different." She's just fine. She's very quiet, very focused, and very geeky, but perfectly all right. While I do believe in autism and increased rates in places like Silicon Valley, I do think that they're blurring the line of being different and being autistic.

    Mental illnesses are trendy. No, I'm not a Tom Cruise follower, but self-discipline and responsibility are going down the tubes. I used to have issues that might have been labeled as bprderline or bipolar, but rather than immediately succumb to mind-numbing drugs and label it as something beyond my control, I took action, did a lot of introspection, thought about my every action from other people's perspectives, and dug myself out of the hole. Even if someone does have bone fide bipolar or such, it's their job to work with it, just like a person who is predisposed to high cholesterol has to watch his diet. Consider my ex boyfriend vs. my dad's best friend. My ex will not take meds, allows himself to have emotional diarrhea fits under the pretense that he's having a dip, and is pretty fatalistic overall. My dad's best friends has experimented around with meds, lets his family know when he feels like he's having mania or depression episodes and tries his best not to let it affect anyone, works his intense emotions out via long walks or inventing sprees, etc. Both are bipolar, but who is trying?
  4. by   paradisemakai
    Quote from PeachPie
    While we're better off in the times when they were lumped into "mentally retarded," I still smell overprescription. My sister was always very detatched, and some of the school staff wanted to have her checked out because they suspected autism of some degree. My parents didn't see any problems with her (she didn't stare at rows of toys for hours or scream if you moved something), so they never bothered, rather seeing her as "different." She's just fine. She's very quiet, very focused, and very geeky, but perfectly all right. While I do believe in autism and increased rates in places like Silicon Valley, I do think that they're blurring the line of being different and being autistic.

    Mental illnesses are trendy. No, I'm not a Tom Cruise follower, but self-discipline and responsibility are going down the tubes. I used to have issues that might have been labeled as bprderline or bipolar, but rather than immediately succumb to mind-numbing drugs and label it as something beyond my control, I took action, did a lot of introspection, thought about my every action from other people's perspectives, and dug myself out of the hole. Even if someone does have bone fide bipolar or such, it's their job to work with it, just like a person who is predisposed to high cholesterol has to watch his diet. Consider my ex boyfriend vs. my dad's best friend. My ex will not take meds, allows himself to have emotional diarrhea fits under the pretense that he's having a dip, and is pretty fatalistic overall. My dad's best friends has experimented around with meds, lets his family know when he feels like he's having mania or depression episodes and tries his best not to let it affect anyone, works his intense emotions out via long walks or inventing sprees, etc. Both are bipolar, but who is trying?
    You're wrong. So wrong it's hard to even respond. Autism spectrum disorders, or ASD's as they are known, include a broad spectrum of abilities and disabilities, from classic autism to Asperger's Syndrome(with which I have been diagnosed so I know somewhat what I'm talking about)

    The research on ASD's show that these difference are actual anatomical differences in the brain. It is not possible for someone on the spectrum (as we call ourselves) to change our brain neuroanatomy. We deal with our abilities and disabilities as best we can.

    In terms of the rising rates, there is no clear answer to that in the literature. It may be a factor only of more aware parents and more aware healthcare providers.

    It is so offensive to those of us on the spectrum to be told "just deal with it". I'd give a million dollars to switch my nervous system for someone else that doesn't have this condition (except yours, which is narrow and I'd rather suffer my autism than have narrow stereotypical thinking.)
  5. by   Calgon-take.me.away
    My daughter is 21 and a music therapy major at Mansfield University in PA.
    She was informed last week that due to "financial" and them feeling that music therapy was not a "profitable field" they are cutting the music therapy major at this university. Music therapy is one of the most important and effective ways of reaching an autistic child. They respond to the music, the rhythm, and it is a way that they can communicate that does not make them feel threatened. They are starting a writing campaign to try and make the Univeristy provost reconsider his decision. If anyone can make a differance, I know that we as nurses can. They need to hear from all that removing the music therapy major is such a large mistake. She has spent three years pursuing her degree and to have it taken from her is just not fair, SHe is a lovely, talented young woman and desires to give back what God has blessed her with by being a music therapist. You can contact me if you would like to help us in any way, be it financial or just lettting your voice be heard
  6. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from PeachPie
    While we're better off in the times when they were lumped into "mentally retarded," I still smell overprescription. My sister was always very detatched, and some of the school staff wanted to have her checked out because they suspected autism of some degree. My parents didn't see any problems with her (she didn't stare at rows of toys for hours or scream if you moved something), so they never bothered, rather seeing her as "different." She's just fine. She's very quiet, very focused, and very geeky, but perfectly all right. While I do believe in autism and increased rates in places like Silicon Valley, I do think that they're blurring the line of being different and being autistic.

    Mental illnesses are trendy. No, I'm not a Tom Cruise follower, but self-discipline and responsibility are going down the tubes. I used to have issues that might have been labeled as bprderline or bipolar, but rather than immediately succumb to mind-numbing drugs and label it as something beyond my control, I took action, did a lot of introspection, thought about my every action from other people's perspectives, and dug myself out of the hole. Even if someone does have bone fide bipolar or such, it's their job to work with it, just like a person who is predisposed to high cholesterol has to watch his diet. Consider my ex boyfriend vs. my dad's best friend. My ex will not take meds, allows himself to have emotional diarrhea fits under the pretense that he's having a dip, and is pretty fatalistic overall. My dad's best friends has experimented around with meds, lets his family know when he feels like he's having mania or depression episodes and tries his best not to let it affect anyone, works his intense emotions out via long walks or inventing sprees, etc. Both are bipolar, but who is trying?
    Yes, I signed my son up to have autism because I wanted him to be in with the in crowd. Lack of discipline and responsibility have nothing whatsoever to do with the diagnosis of autism. You actually sound a lot like a Tom Cruise disciple to me.
  7. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from paradisemakai
    You're wrong. So wrong it's hard to even respond. Autism spectrum disorders, or ASD's as they are known, include a broad spectrum of abilities and disabilities, from classic autism to Asperger's Syndrome(with which I have been diagnosed so I know somewhat what I'm talking about)

    The research on ASD's show that these difference are actual anatomical differences in the brain. It is not possible for someone on the spectrum (as we call ourselves) to change our brain neuroanatomy. We deal with our abilities and disabilities as best we can.

    In terms of the rising rates, there is no clear answer to that in the literature. It may be a factor only of more aware parents and more aware healthcare providers.

    It is so offensive to those of us on the spectrum to be told "just deal with it". I'd give a million dollars to switch my nervous system for someone else that doesn't have this condition (except yours, which is narrow and I'd rather suffer my autism than have narrow stereotypical thinking.)
    I couldn't agree with you more. No matter how often I hear things like this, it always floors me that such attitudes persist despite all evidence to the contrary.
  8. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from Calgon-take.me.away
    My daughter is 21 and a music therapy major at Mansfield University in PA.
    She was informed last week that due to "financial" and them feeling that music therapy was not a "profitable field" they are cutting the music therapy major at this university. Music therapy is one of the most important and effective ways of reaching an autistic child. They respond to the music, the rhythm, and it is a way that they can communicate that does not make them feel threatened. They are starting a writing campaign to try and make the Univeristy provost reconsider his decision. If anyone can make a differance, I know that we as nurses can. They need to hear from all that removing the music therapy major is such a large mistake. She has spent three years pursuing her degree and to have it taken from her is just not fair, SHe is a lovely, talented young woman and desires to give back what God has blessed her with by being a music therapist. You can contact me if you would like to help us in any way, be it financial or just lettting your voice be heard
    Do they mean they don't think it is profitable for them, or not profitable as a career? I can tell you that if your daughter came out here after graduating, she could find work as a music therapist if she wanted to work with children with autism. More and more of the school districts are bringing them in and in some cases, regional center will pay for it. Plus lots of people around here have enough $ to pay for it out of pocket. I know several music therapists who provide adjunctive therapy to adults with severe depression as well. Now, being from PA and having a bit of understanding about the state university system, I'm sorry to say that it doesn't surprise me that they're not phasing the program out instead of dropping it cold turkey. That's just a dreadful thing to do.
  9. by   hogan4736
    Quote from PeachPie
    While we're better off in the times when they were lumped into "mentally retarded," I still smell overprescription. My sister was always very detatched, and some of the school staff wanted to have her checked out because they suspected autism of some degree. My parents didn't see any problems with her (she didn't stare at rows of toys for hours or scream if you moved something), so they never bothered, rather seeing her as "different." She's just fine. She's very quiet, very focused, and very geeky, but perfectly all right. While I do believe in autism and increased rates in places like Silicon Valley, I do think that they're blurring the line of being different and being autistic.

    Mental illnesses are trendy. No, I'm not a Tom Cruise follower, but self-discipline and responsibility are going down the tubes. I used to have issues that might have been labeled as bprderline or bipolar, but rather than immediately succumb to mind-numbing drugs and label it as something beyond my control, I took action, did a lot of introspection, thought about my every action from other people's perspectives, and dug myself out of the hole. Even if someone does have bone fide bipolar or such, it's their job to work with it, just like a person who is predisposed to high cholesterol has to watch his diet. Consider my ex boyfriend vs. my dad's best friend. My ex will not take meds, allows himself to have emotional diarrhea fits under the pretense that he's having a dip, and is pretty fatalistic overall. My dad's best friends has experimented around with meds, lets his family know when he feels like he's having mania or depression episodes and tries his best not to let it affect anyone, works his intense emotions out via long walks or inventing sprees, etc. Both are bipolar, but who is trying?

    I am with you here

    Most won't agree with you though...

    I have Asperger's

    My son was speech delayed. We got him into early intervention, which comes with a "psych eval"

    A developmental psychologist came to the house and observed him for two hours...

    In her report, she threw in "autistic" several times...

    We asked her to rewrite it without that word, as he qualified for speech focused preschool, and we knew he wasn't autistic, and didn't want that to follow him all through school...

    He is almost 6, and leads his kindergarten class in reading, is outgoing, talkative, etc...

    He does cry easily, but we work on emotional control WITHOUT meds, daily

    Be careful what the "experts" say, and follow your heart, as parents know their children best...

    I'm not denying the diagnosis of Autism, I just think it may be overdiagnosed.
  10. by   JaneyW
    I don't think the OP was denying the fact of mental illness. I think she was just saying that for those that can help themselves, they should. She may not have the world experience yet that will show her that not everyone is capable of helping themselves, but we all know people who could do more and instead surrender to their diagnosis.

    I alos quite appreciate Hogan's post. My 15 year old son had some of those same symptoms. The crying has stopped with time (although he is still very sensitive in a good way!), but he is still very 'different'. He gets good grades, is a joy of a teenager and has a few good friends. He will be learning to drive soon. It took me a while to accept that he is just who he is and that I don't really need to change him or put a label on him. I have a nephew who has the same things going on and a DH who does as well! All are leading successful lives. Autism is a spectrum disorder and not all need intense therapy or intervention. My son is happy with who he is. How many people can say that? I feel no need to step in, label him, and try to make him like everyone else.
  11. by   PeachPie
    No, I'm not a Tom Cruise follower, and I do think that telling an autistic kid to deal with it is like telling a depressed person to have a nice day. I have a cousin with severe Asberger's, and she's going to be under her parents' care for the rest of her life. I've worked with kids whose whole lives revolve around one passion like physics, and have to operate in ways similar to Isaac Asimov's three robot laws. My ex byfriend is a psychologist who does intense therapy and conditioning with autistic kids, and sometimes toils for months just to get eye contact. Those who are taking offense are either not realizing that I am not talking about you, or are formulating accusations because subconsciously it's true.

    My experience came from a psychiatrist who had the whole field monopolized in my small town. Anyone (and I mean everyone) who came to her was either bipolar (me and half my high school classmates, I later went to a real psychiatrist rather than a legalized drug pusher/brainwasher who took me off all 4 meds that I was on and realized I was an angsty teen, NOT bipolar), had ADD (several children I babysat), or autistic (my sister escaped this, thank god). She was a legalized drug pusher, her monopoly gained her much recognition and more money. She later moved off to another small town and did the same. Unlike Tom Cruise, I am not denying the existance. However, I've been wary ever since they tried to label my sister. Yes, she was detached and a loner and could throw tantrums, but it was never so bad that it really disrupted anything. She turned out to be just fine.

    It just scares me where the line lies. It's like being different and having personality traits are becoming subject to the whims of specialists who love labeling. I know it's spectrum, but what if somebody LIKES being quiet and solo? I'd hate to be caught in those short hairs.
    Last edit by PeachPie on Feb 12, '07
  12. by   Quickbeam
    Such a personal issue for me. I am so grateful for Child Study Teams and improved diagnostics. They will never help me (after my time) but maybe the next generation will not have to suffer as my husband has.

    I had zero idea my husband was on the spectrum when we got married. I soon felt like my world had collapsed...I could not make any sense of his day to day behavior. I spent thousands on diagnostic tests (no freebies for those of us who missed the era of child study teams) to find out he has Asperger's Syndrome. Digging, I then found out that his elementary and high schools had him evaluated multiple times but since he could pass the school work, they just left him to be miserable.

    No one ever would chose this life. My husband is cut off from people, society, nuance in language and interpersonal communications. It has taken many years of slow, painful, loving effort to have a more outgoing life. Every day is an autistic day for us. I attend a support group for spouses of those with Asperger's. My in-laws? Just thought he was an eccentric genius.

    I understand and have personal knowledge of people who "work the system" to get extra SAT time for their kids etc. That is horribly wrong. The school and educational professionals should work very hard to eliminate that type of fraud. No one would chose autism.
  13. by   mercyteapot
    [quote=PeachPie;2064536]Those who are taking offense are either not realizing that I am not talking about you, or are formulating accusations because subconsciously it's true.

    [quote]

    Or we're taking offense because you said something that offended us.
  14. by   hogan4736
    Certainly offensiveness (of any post) is subjective, however, the OP was talking about a personal account, and was slamming no one...

    I reread her post, and what she seems to be saying is not to blindly follow an "expert's" advice and do your own homework...

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