Previously published in Examiner
New statistics on autism have reached an alarming high. CNN Health reported today that, “The number of children with autism is “significantly” higher than previously thought, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). School-aged boys were four times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis than girls, according to the new data.”
My friend in the USA has two boys with autism. It is really hard for him. He is a single parent and homeschools his sons. He is such a dedicated father.
CNN Health goes on to say, “The CDC released a report a year ago estimating 1 in 88 American children has a form of autism spectrum disorder – neurodevelopmental disorders that lead to impaired language, communication and social skills. The report looked at medical and educational records of all 8-year-olds living in 14 areas of the United States during 2008.”
Many people have trouble recognizing autism. They think that only severe cases are autism. They think the screaming, rocking back and forth, and head banging as the only symptoms of the disorder. As a therapist the best way for me to show other forms of autism to give a clearly understanding of the autism spectrum disorder, is to look at the behavior of Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.” The character shows symptoms that are often associated with Asperger syndrome such as not picking up on social cues, lack of empathy, and a dislike for change.
Boston.com/health reports that, “Increased awareness and medical coverage for autism have no doubt contributed to the uptick in diagnoses — especially for borderline cases that barely meet the criteria for being on the spectrum. “Kids with social problems who wouldn’t have necessarily been diagnosed with autism in the past are nowadays getting the diagnosis, so it’s tough to tell how much the prevalence is truly increasing,” said Dr. Andrea Roberts, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.”
These findings are largely due to the reports given by the parents and guardians of the children. The mother of an autistic child who became a household name because of her advocacy is Jenny McCarthy. Jennie McCarthy was adamant that her son’s autism was caused by childhood immunizations. “After years of speaking publicly about her belief that MMR shots (immunization for measles, mumps, and rubella) caused her son to suffer from autism, Jenny McCarthy now faces the reality that her son Evan – who no longer shows any signs of autism – may likely have lived with a completely different illness.”
According to Hollywood Life, Time magazine interviewed Jenny and suggests “Evan suffers from Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage.”
The issue is that there is a controversy about the increase of children with autism. Some medical professionals are not sure if the increase is actually due to a real diagnosis or if it due to more awareness and other factors.
Again as a therapist I must weigh-in the evidence. Misdiagnosis is prevalent in this disorder; as we have seen with Jenny McCarthy. She was led to believe for years that her child was autistic and after all these years she finds that perhaps he is not.
If you are a mother of a child you suspect may have this disorder, please consult several professionals before reaching the conclusion that your child has autism.