By Anne Dachel
OPEN LETTER TO SIMON BARON-COHEN, Professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University and director of its Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University
Dear Professor Baron-Cohen,
I'm writing because of what I'm reading in the British press about autism. There are a number of highly improbable and likely impossible things that we're supposed to believe about the autism rate. I'm finding so many excuses and strange explanations for why we have children everywhere with autism that it's hard to know how to begin. The British press never questions anything. One claim may directly contradict another, but no matter, it's all reported as THE TRUTH ABOUT AUTISM. In another age, they'd have told us that the Earth was both flat and round at the same time.
AUTISM ISN'T AN EPIDEMIC
Everything centers around the explosion in autism and how to explain it away. A once rare disorder is now so common that everyone knows someone with an autistic child and no one in authority seems worried.
Autism only appears to have increased according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's really just "better diagnosing." The CDC must keep in close touch with the experts in the UK like yourself because you were quoted recently saying, 'I don't think it's the right way to think about autism, as an epidemic.'
You obviously don't believe there really are more kids with autism. " 'A good part' of the rise,' ... can be explained by better diagnosis and an expanded definition of autism." HERE
It's hard to believe you're living is in the same Britain where they recently announced that one in every 60 children has autism, including one in every 38 boys.
If things aren't bizarre enough in Britain, other autism news really adds to the confusion.
Regardless of the shocking number of disabled children and the self-congratulatory explanation that it's all due to "better diagnosing," we're also being told by the British press that doctors aren't able to diagnosis autism, in fact, they're missing hundreds of thousands of British kids with autism.
Last week, the British Journal of Psychiatry published a report from Cambridge University which said, "The ratio of unknown autism spectrum cases to known cases could be 3:2."
There are still more children with autism to be found? One in every 60 isn't bad enough? Papers in Britain are putting out stories everywhere saying things like, "A new report has found 80 per cent of doctors believe they need more training on how to spot autism.
"The National Audit Office (NAO) survey found that most NHS organisations and local authorities do not know how many people with autism live in their area, and found GPs and social care staff have low awareness of autism and how to diagnose it."
It makes absolutely NO SENSE, but no one seems to mind in the UK. Evidently, with 80 percent of doctors unsure about diagnosing autism, there can be both better diagnosing and misdiagnosing at the same time.
In, Autism: Study Finds 12-fold Rise in Cases, HERE Independent Health Editor Jeremy Laurance, reported, "The number of children with autism has risen 12-fold in the past 30 years and may be 50 per cent higher than previously suspected, the most detailed study of the condition yet has found.
"Up to 250,000 children have autism or a related condition on the autistic spectrum, but have not been diagnosed, researchers say. They are in addition to the 500,000 children who are known to be affected.
"...The authors dismissed suggestions that changes in lifestyle or the environment were behind the rise. They put it down to improved awareness and detection, and the inclusion of milder conditions within the diagnosis."
It seems there can't be too much autism in Britain. Here are some more examples of what they're reporting in British press. Doctors 'Need More Autism Training' says report Craegmoor News HERE. One in Every 64 Children could have Autism, Cambridge researchers find The Telegraph HERE. Many Autism Cases 'Undiagnosed' BBC News HERE.
If one can follow the logic here, we're being told by experts like yourself that Britain has always been awash with autism. Somehow, having 700,000 kids with autism is nothing new in the UK.
I have only two questions for you:
1. Tell us about the adults who have autism like we see in children. Where are they living and what are they doing? There are hundreds of thousands of parents in Britain, desperate about the future for their kids, who'd love to know.
2. How will your country pay for the huge number of individuals with autism who will be aging out into the adult population and who will live long lives dependent on the British taxpayers?
As was just reported in the Telegraph, you believe that autistic adults are 'currently very poorly served.' HERE And while you mention those with Asperger's Syndrome, I'd like you to show us the 30, 50, and 70 year old adults who display the same symptoms of classic autism that we see in children, the non-verbal adults in diapers, banging holes in walls and spinning in circles. I can guarantee it will get media coverage everywhere.
Age of Autism