Autism Up 78% Since 2000!
A CNN Breaking News alert informs me,
The estimated number of U.S. autistic kids has skyrocketed by 78% since 2000, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in 88 American kids has autism, according to the new figures. Among boys, it’s one in 54.
Why? One expert says: “Better diagnosis, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and roughly 50% of ‘We don’t know.'”
One advocate says: “we have an epidemic of autism in the United States.”
Now, it’s quite possible that we have an “epidemic of autism.” But, if so, we’ve always had it. What’s happening is that we’re now classifying things that were considered quirks of behavior when I was in grade school as mental illness. That’s quite possibly a good thing. It’s probably useful to have names for things and for parents and kids to know that certain aberrant behaviors aren’t their fault. But what we have is almost certainly an increase in diagnosis rather than an increase in the underlying condition.