by John Stone
Scotland is one of the first nations that will have to confront the meltdown of its services because of the tsunami of neurological problems engulfing its children. No amount of public relations whimsy can cover up the scale of this calamity. And nothing must stop its representative politicians demanding from its health executive the real reasons why this has happened – they are in the dock of history. For two decades we have had the siren song that there is better recognition of autism, that there are as many unidentified cases hidden among the adult population: this is no longer tenable when the rate of ASD among younger children is now well above 1 in 30, and when there are a host of other impairments and health problems confronting Scotland’s children. By now, it could well be that 1 in 10 boys at the younger end of the cohort is autistic spectrum.
As of September 2016 based on Scottish Executive figures the rate of diagnosed autism in Scottish schools was 1 in 51 in a 15 year rolling cohort, but seven years before in 2009 it was just 1 in 129 (in 1998, the first year of data, it was 1 in 925). According to another set of figures the total number of pupils with “additional needs support” in Scottish schools rose 73% in just five years from 98,253 to 170, 239, or 25% of Scotland’s children (again the proportion is likely to be much worse among younger children). A report last July by Scottish Conservatives highlighted rising prescriptions for Ritalin, a drug used for the treatment of attention and hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) :
“The 123,222 items dispensed for the treatment of ADHD is a new record high, compared to 112,000 in 2014/15 and just 105,000 the year before that.”
Whatever their politically correct special needs rhetoric, every government in history (as any autism parent will tell you) has fought tooth and nail to keep the cost of special educational needs down. Diagnoses are not handed out easily. Moreover, most parents are not delighted to be told there is something amiss with their child, and most professionals will not enjoy telling them. This is not a chimaera, it is real and there is certainly worse to come. Something similar is also happening in Northern Ireland .
The statistics, released by the Health and Social Care Board, show that the number of youngsters on waiting lists is up from 607 in 2012, to 2,325 this year.
The figures were disclosed in response to an Assembly question from Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson.
Ms Dobson said she was shocked at the dramatic rise and said the figures showed that the crisis engulfing our hospitals had now spread to autism services.
Assembly member Dobson is only half right because this is actually a story about sevices being engulfed by an epidemic, not because they are being run down. In English schools Autistic Spectrum cases continue to rise and are less than three year behind the levels now reported in Scotland.
At some point reality has to dawn. This is happening because our children are having to sustain an unprecedented toxic burden of which an endlessly and recklessly extended vaccine schedule is a major component.