Age of Autism Adds Military Category
14 Studies Part 3: Ladies and Gentlemen, Take Your Positions

“Tidal Wave” of Young Adults with Autism about to Flood Cash-Strapped California

Golden gate destroyed By David Kirby

Broke California will begin the new decade with crushing debt and wholesale elimination of human services. Meanwhile, President Obama has rankled Congressional Democrats with plans to earmark millions of dollars in NIH funds to find the causes and cures of autism.

Are these two things related? You bet they are.

Barack Obama is not a stupid man. He sees the budgetary train wreck hurtling down the track towards the US Treasury. His Administration knows that the number of adults with autism in this country is about to explode. Parents can’t foot the bill, so taxpayers will have to. The price tag will be stratospherical.

Isn’t it better to earmark millions in autism research funds right now for NIH to identify the causes of autism – despite outcries from Rep. Obey, Sen. Harkin and others – in order to save hundreds of billions further down the road?

It’s called frontloading the budget, and if we don’t do it, the coming army of young adults with autism will march in and break the bank.

Anyone who thinks that a lot of people with autism somehow “grow out of their disorder” by adulthood should take a look at an important article published today in the Sacramento Bee. (HERE)

Here, you will meet California residents such as Marlon Barton, a 6’2”, 283-pound “strapping young man who flaps his hands and makes odd noises,” according to reporter Cynthia Hubert. “No one knows quite what to do with him,” she says.

Marlon Barton is 26 years old and “acutely” autistic. He scares people. My heart goes out to him, and to his amazing mother.

But they are hardly alone.

“As a tidal wave of these youngsters moves toward adulthood with complex behavioral and medical problems, society is largely unprepared,” Hubert writes. “The futures of hundreds of thousands of autistic people in America cannot be ignored for long.”

Dr. Robert Hendren, director of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, concurs. "We don't have the programs. We don't have the research," he warns. "We have this very large adult population of autistics coming along, and we don't know how to deal with them. We just haven't come to terms with it."

California has certainly not come to terms with it – and I have no idea what will happen to the thousands of young people in need who will be showing up at state offices in the next few years, their parents desperately seeking services.

Currently, 81.7% of all autism cases in the state Department of Development Services system are under 18, but that ratio is about to change fast. (HERE)

There are now 6,300 adult Californians receiving autism services through DDS. But over the next four years, more than 4,000 teenagers will join their ranks. By 2018, the total number of adults with autism will more than triple, to 19,000 people -- each requiring tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in care, education and support services, every year.

California cannot afford it.

Which brings us back to President Obama. By 2023, the US will have some 380,000 people who will need “extensive adult services,” at the cost of billions of dollars a year, Hubert writes. “Care providers are just beginning to grapple with how to deal with the surge, even as governments slash social services to cope with budget deficits.”

Anyone still trying to lull Americans into complacently believing that autism is a genetic disorder that has always been with us in such staggering numbers (we just never noticed before) needs to stop doing that. Now.

It’s time to stop pretending this isn’t happening.

Autism’s toll on children, families, friends and caregivers has been devastating. President Obama knows that the disorder will now exact its toll on taxpayers. I am encouraged that Federal health officials are finally moving to identify all possible environmental autism triggers – including vaccines – so we can finally learn how to slow this spigot down. (HERE)

Why not spend money now to find the causes and cures for autism? If we don’t, that tidal wave will just keep on washing over us. 

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm, a founding contributor to Huffington Post and a contributor to Age of Autism.  His next book, “ANIMAL FACTORY” – about the impact of industrial livestock production on our health and the environment – will be released within the year.



Roger Kulp

Look at Marlon Barton here.As I have been able to see more and more pictures of male autistics in their teens and twenties nowadays,what has always struck me,is how big,tall,and muscular they are.I am older than that,and have a diagnosis of atypical autism.I am the exact opposite.I have a profound lack of muscle development,including being born without abdominal muscles.(I do not have PBS or liver disease.)I only experienced partial puberty in spite of normal hormone levels.I have many other serious medical,and developmental problems.I definitely have a myopathy,it maybe mitochondrial,or it may be some other kind. There are a number of nonmitochondrial myopathies associated with autism,but they are supposedly "very rare".

Putting aside the autism for a minute,and looking at the body itself,doesn't anybody think it's odd ,that so many of these young men are built like bodybuilders or NFL fullbacks,who have taken a lot of steroids ?

Maybe there's some sort of "reverse myopathy" going on here,that would lead to excessive muscle development.Some sort of new mutation that popped up in the 1980s that nobody ever thought to look for,that might be a causative or contributing factor to the autism itself ?

Just a thought.


Thanks, David.

One thing (among too many to count) that has so many of us in a hurry to recover our kids is a total lack of faith in how this all turns out in the end. Because nothing on this scale has ever precisely happened before, there's no parallel history for people to read in order to avoid repeating it. There are some historical analogies, though, that scare the pants off most people who understand the rough parallels.

The current stories of restraint, seclusion and institutionalized medical and physical abuse of children and teens with autism are terrifying. These things are probably the product of a combination of systematic misinformation about the disorder being spread by vaccine-injury deniers, lack of public sympathy due to how this misunderstanding interacts with common human failings and, of course, lack of funds. To be realistic, even if the US wasn't experiencing an economic crisis, the cost of caring for an individual with autism for a lifetime-- even one too often cut short by inaccessible care for related health issues and excessive drugging-- is prohibitive.

I worry that there will never be enough money to manage this. We have no choice but to fight to change attitudes and for support of effected individuals-- those who may never recover despite their families' efforts and those whose families never tried. But we have to do this with the sad knowledge that, when all is said and done, the results will still represent one of the most tragic chapters in human history.

It's so true that one of the first steps is to stop the lies and denials that stand in the way of staving off even more disaster than what's coming.

Lisa @ TACA

Thank you David for continuing the story line. The tidal wave of adults is still something that wakes me up at night. It is heartbreaking to see what we are up against today. Only to replace for what is in store for families in the not so distant future.


Everyone in government and medicine should be getting behind us parents working to recover our children.

Thanks to biomedical treatment, many who would grow into governmental depends will be productive, contributing members of society instead.

Benedetta Stilwell

LJ Gores you broke my heart this morning.
Don't dwell on the future, it will cause so much worry that it will harm your health. Don't just take my advice on this one, even 2000 years ago people recognized worrying about the future is dangerous and useless(such warnings can be found in the New Testament), Do what you think is best at the moment, that is all you can do.

Barry- Milk jugs are long chains of double bonded carbons. What you are seeing is these long chains of safe organic carbons disolving in water (water is the ultimate when it comes to carbon, esp when a little heat is applied) We are made of carbon and water. We do have insulators in our brains - called mylein (my spelling is terrible and I refuse to look anything up). Mylein sheaths wrap around the nerves to protect them from other nerve impulses (at least that is how I understand it) A lot of immune responses that I have read about in the past actually destroy mylein and cause problems.

Jane Milota

California is not the only state feeling the impact. Here in Ohio we are trying to make lawmakers understand just how serious the situation is. Unfortunately the autism tidal wave does not seem important enough. The list of resources needed for these individuals is growing daily. I commend President Obama for his efforts to address the problem. I also shudder at the ignorant comments coming from congress, such as "not wanting to inject politics into scientific research". The money for research comes from congress. They appropriate it; they are in charge of it!

Teresa Conrick


Thanks for not letting these issues go unnoticed. The money issue is a big one for future care but for the parents, it is more. The care of these fragile children who will become adults is so unique, who freak out with noise, do not understnd danger, cannot eat many foods due to the negative and potentially dangerous reactions (biomedical issues that present as behavioral), many who cannot communicate their most basic needs as well as those who continually perseverate and could provoke anger in a less sympathetic bystander, and then there is the function of being a worker, a contributor to society.

It is definitely "a train wreck hurtling down the track" at numerous targets. Yes, please pay NOW to figure ths out and help these kids. My very severe daughter would never be able to sit still and not have behaviors that could turn aggressive to herself or others until her medical and physical issues related to vaccine injury were addressed -- the first rung on the ladder to healing.

And a BIG yes to Obama doing the right thing here. By spending this money now, he will be slowing/eliminating potential autism cases, helping heal those already affected and finally treating these people as medically affected human beings instead of the historically, unworthy, mentally ill (refrigerator parents = psychological, made up crap) -- treatment that they have received in decades past.

LJ Goes

YES. YES, Mr. Kirby!!!! SO eloquently said. NOW is the time to stop the lies. The idea that kids "outgrow" autism is the newest in my personal repetoire of battles.

This is often how people choose to encourge us when they look at our little boy, Noah. He has curly light brown hair, dancing eyes with light catching lashes, a beautiful rosy complexion (when we have the eczema under control) and a smile that could cause stone to take notice. Physically and spiritually, he is truly beautiful.

So we are often encouraged that such a striking boy as ours will surely outgrow his affliction. As if justice is always served in the lives of beautiful people.

I laugh boisterously when this is said, much like Noah gaffaws as if he has just heard the most hilarious joke, in the solitude of his dark and silent bedroom at 2:00 a.m. It disturbs people.

Sometimes I muster up a truly inapproproiate comment like, "Yeah, I hear lots of folks just stop having breast cancer!"

This winter my husband Dave and I were having dinner at a new bistro enjoying the meal, people watching, drinking great wine and feeling free. Then I asked "the question". "Has it ever occured to you that he won't get better?" Immediately, the magic ended, the ambiance fizzled and we were two terrified, vulnerable parents crying loudly in crowd of pretty people enjoying great jazz.

I felt awful for bringing it up but I needed to know we were on the same page, considering all the ways this autism deal might pan out. With the 85% divorce rate I didn't want one of us to wake up when Noah is 15 saying, "Well, I thought it was going to get better and it's not, so, I'm done."

I actually know of a couple who divorced so they could have a break from caring for their autistic preteen for 2-3 days at a time. Let's consider that...people MUST divorce in order care for their child and remain sane! What is wrong with this picture?!

Every time I observe how an older autistic child is regarded in society I am brought to tears. The cuteness and sweet quirks fade. People are annoyed and disturbed by these children who appear ill behaved and out of control. Will I be able to get people to accept my son if I tell them when he was little he was beautiful?

Above and beyond the obvious and pressing need to care for these adults, how do we prepare our society to truly accept and live among them without fear?

We have our work cut out for us.

Barry Morse

Please follow this hypothesis:
Plastic is the cause of the rapid rise in autism.
The human brain works primarily by electrical energy. Plastic is an excellent insulator. Plastics photo-degrade; they get smaller but remain as plastic. During the time of fetal neural development, at the moment that the nerves should make connection, they are blocked from doing so by a piece of plastic. I believe the autistic mind produces the same amount of electrical energy and that energy has fewer areas of diffusion. This is evidenced by the heightening the various senses experienced by the autistic individual. Note the rapid rise in autism in the last twenty years and consider the time it would take for the plastics to infiltrate our ecosystem or the direct ingestion of photo-degraded liquid by pregnant women.
The easiest way to see this is to take a plastic bottle of drinking water and freeze it. Let it thaw and sit. Turn it upside down, turn it into the light and see the shiny plastic particles descend in the water that you are about to drink.
I believe that this hypothesis bears investigation.


Right on, David Kirby.

Pierre Morin

Monsieur Kirby

Noblesse oblige!! encore !!



I met a neighbor yesterday at a yard sale, I had Ben with me and the older woman remarked how cute he was, one thing led to another and the word "autism" came up. She told me her grandson was autistic.

She also said that it is so mysterious that just as common it is for many children to develop autism at 12-18 months, there is a similar opposite that happens at 7 years of age when they "out-grow" autism.

I bit my lip.


President Obama is a smart man. If he reads up on the vaccine- autism connection he is quite capable of seeing where the truth lies. But does he have the courage to act? We can't keep creating people with autism at this rate. We just can't.

María Luján

Dear Mr Kirby
Around the world, the number of diagnosis of ASD is increasing year after year. To think that always the numbers have been the same is at this point, naive. To think that societies and medicine care systems-even with very different systems- are prepared to give the needed services to autistic teen and adults- and their families- in the number to reach teenage and adulthood is more than naive. And to the increasing number of diagnosed children, less and less each year....

"It’s time to stop pretending this isn’t happening"
and I would add "around the world"

The problem has so many aspects and so many implications that a multidisciplinary-international approach is needed. And this approach is so far to be is not even in the begining...unfortunately

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