Podcast Season 2 Episode 5: Walter Zahorodny
Every year the CDC announces an update regarding Autism Prevalence rates.
In the early 80’s the rate was 1 in 10,000. This year they announced 1 in 59.
But, what does this really mean? Is it that we are getting better at diagnosing Autism, or that we are really becoming more aware?
When looking at the numbers we can quickly assume that there is an epidemic of Autism, but is this really the case?
In this episode, I chat with Walter Zahorodny, PhD, who heads up the New Jersey portion of the CDC report. What we discuss is what I’m asked on a regular basis regarding these numbers… and it’s more revealing when you dive into the report then if you just take the numbers at face value.
Walter works in the Pediatrics Department at Rutgers University — New Jersey Medical School. His group established and maintains an Autism surveillance system, evaluates environmental (non-genetic) risk factors for Autism and develops novel approaches to Autism screening and assessment. Their most recent publication is ‘Preliminary Evaluation of a Brief Autism Screener for Young Children,’ which presents evidence in support of the Psychological Development Questionnaire (PDQ-1). In the past, Walter studied neonatal withdrawal and designed a reliable tool for evaluating the severity of withdrawal, the Neonatal Withdrawal Inventory (NWI). Autism rates in New Jersey are the highest in the nation (1 in 36), so his teams efforts have some serious weight on the topic at hand.
We hope you enjoy this episode:
I appreciate our guest, Walter Zahorodny for answering several questions and for helping me dive into the numbers and how his team and the ADDM gather the data for their research.
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Click here for previous episodes: https://autisable.com/multimedia/autisable-dads-life-with-autism-podcast/
Here are a few more links associated with this podcast:
CDC.gov – Data and Statistics – Autism Spectrum – https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html
NJ.com – http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/04/nj_autism_rates_rise_19_percent_highest_in_us.html