By Anne Dachel
I’ve been looking at stories about special education for five years now for Loss of Brain Trust and things show no sign of quietly settling down. Every once in a while some story will mention the percentage of kids who have special needs or else cite the current autism rate. I’ve faithfully written about all these numbers.
The latest U.S. autism rate is one in 44, up from one in 54 the year before.
Of course that’s nothing. Over the last few years I’ve seen one in 39 in North Carolina, one in 26 in California, one in 22 in Northern Ireland, and one in 14 in Toms River, NJ.
Those are only a few. I’ve got lots more, but it really doesn’t matter. Autism will never be a real problem and neither will the percentage of kids who are considered special ed.
I’ve been collecting those percentages too, and they’re chilling: Staten Island: 24 percent of students are SPED, Ireland: 25 percent, Rumford, ME: more than 25 percent; Hamilton, Ontario: 26 percent, Clark County, KY: 30 percent, Scotland: 32 percent. It just gets monotonous after a while. None of these numbers matter at all. I don’t know why reporters even mention them. There’s never any follow-up questions or real concern.
There’s one glaring truth that can’t be ignored: With ever-increasing autism numbers and greater percentages of students with special needs, we will see rising costs to society, and it turns out that in the U.K. and Ireland, those costs are disastrous.
A couple of years ago I came in contact with an economist who knew all about what autism will be costing us. Toby Rogers, PhD studied the official reports from NIH. Here’s how he summed things up.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Those are the government’s own figures. No one pretends that things will ever level off or improve. The numbers are real, yet there is no alarm from officials.