The Autism Epidemic

There are plenty of people these days who think there’s no autism epidemic. There have always been this many folks with serious impairments, the theory goes, but they were undiagnosed before. Diagnosis has gotten so much better that they’re finding them everywhere. One in 100 of those being born now, in fact.

But I think there is an autism epidemic, and I’ll tell you why. Since the autism epidemic is now at least 20 years old (I peg the start at 1990), there are fewer people with accurate memory of severe autistics in the population from before that time. Of course we all remember odd ducks; they have always been with us. But what about the seriously impaired ones? They should have made up about 1 in 200 of the population from back then, undiagnosed, assuming that half of the autistics being diagnosed now are severe, and the other half are more like odd ducks.

I am one with a clear memory of the situation involving my autistic brother, born in 1955, not speaking until he was 5 years old. He appeared to us to be one of a kind. We were shocked to eventually find out there were others like him, and we didn’t find this out till he was in his late thirties or forties. In fact he was 1 in 10,000 or something like that.

You think I’m just a biased person so you’ll dismiss me? There’s someone else who remembers too. In our local newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there was an article yesterday about a 38-year-old autistic man, born in 1973. The reporter, Sarah Bryan Miller, quoted the autistic man’s mother, Phyllis Kuhns:

“I was suspecting there was something wrong, I guess, by the time he was 2, but I didn’t know it was autism. He started out talking at the usual age, saying ‘mama’ and ‘dada,’ and then he stopped.

“He would be very animated, and then he’d get this faraway look on his face, like he wasn’t all there, like he was somewhere else mentally,” she added. With no diagnosis, he was shifted around to different schools in the Special School District. “I think he was about 8 when they finally decided (autism) might be it.”

Clearly he also seemed to be one of a kind. It’s not like that at all now; special ed classes are full of autistic kids who can’t function in the regular classroom. The autism epidemic is real, folks. Things are seriously wrong. Something in our environment is poisoning our children, at least 1 in 100 of them. Aren’t you worried about what it might be? Aren’t you worried that the FDA is not protecting the public, but rather the corporations that churn out untested chemicals and barely-tested medicines and vaccines?

Oddly enough, my brother and this man David Kuhns both have prodigious musical gifts. David plays classical music on his church’s organ, while my brother plays various instruments in a band for autistic savants, the Hi Hopes, in the Los Angeles area. My brother played the organ as one of his first instruments.

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Phyllis Wheeler

0 thoughts on “The Autism Epidemic

  • February 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

    You are absolutely right.  The autism epidemic is real and it is so unfortunate that so many people are in denial. Research money is spent on questioning whether the epidemic is real rather than finding ways to help our kids.  Sure, in the past there probably were a few cases of high functioning autism that slipped though the cracks.  But what if you discounted HFA and just counted the moderate and severe cases?   Would there still be such a large number of people that were simply missed by the educational and medical system?  I suspect the continuing changes to the DSM 5 are, in fact, another way to keep up the controversy and the confusion. If the criteria remained constant, then we’d have to account for why, in the past 4 years the autism rates have increased exponentially.  We many even feel like we had to do something about, big Pharma, Monsanto, Big Oil and the wireless revolution.  It’s easier just to keep denying it.  In the long run, however, it will bankrupt our country. 

  • February 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Here is a pretty good excerpt from the first article by UC Davis:

    “A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has
    found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children
    born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either
    changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend
    shows no sign of abating.”

  • February 8, 2012 at 11:56 am

    UC Davis, one of the leaders in autism research, would disagree about the broader diagnosis theory.  They have run studies proving that broader diagnosis does not account for the increasing number of autism and that something in this environment is likely at play.  Pleas read these two sources if you want to see for yourself.

  • February 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

    It’s not an epidemic.  People and medical professionals are just more aware of it now.  Fifty years ago nobody even knew what autism was.  Before that, people wouldn’t even let their special needs children out in public.  They were often kept hidden away at home, and parents would deny even having a child because it was looked upon as a disgrace.  How the hell are doctors supposed to diagnose someone who supposedly doesn’t even exist?

    Nothing is poisoning our children.  The only thing “poisoning” anybody is people still crying conspiracy theory.

  • February 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I didn’t get any magical powers per se (I can factor groups of numbers real fast wahoo, but I’m slow at math), but I was in special ed, and I didn’t see very many ‘autistic’ kids.  I think when I was younger what you would call mild autism woiuld be called a processing disorder or language delays or other delays.  There were all sorts of names, but I could say a few were looking back.

    I think this is one of those a rose by any other name a rose remains.

    They “care” a lot more than they used to too.  One of my grandparents is intellectually challenged, but went through life just fine because they didn’t care as much in those days.  One of my caregivers had a speech problem, but they didn’t care to fix it back then.  Schools weren’t as good, and not as many people went, so not as many people knew they were different or challenged. 

    I think the epidemic is labeling special children when many just have normal delays or have schizoid personality disorder or other disorders but can still function in society.


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