In 2007 the National Survey of Children's Health conducted a study on the rate of autism. The results have now been released. Of the 80,496 children surveyed, 921 were said by their parent to currently have autism or Asperger's syndrome. That makes the rate of autism in the children surveyed approximately 1%, or 1 in every 100. The rates generated from data in 2002 and 2003 suggested a rate of 1 in every 150.
A curious finding of the study was that 459 of the parents told the researchers that their child was previously told their child had autism or Asperger's Syndrome, but that they do not have it currently. This result is in accord with what has been reported by many parents that their children can improve, especially through bio-medical interventions, although many also report success through therapeutic interventions.
When you add the two numbers together, you find that of the 80,496 children surveyed, 1380 either currently have autism or Asperger's Syndrome, or did at some point in the past. That works out to 1.7% or 1 in every 58 children. Think about that. 1 in every 58 children is now getting a diagnosis of autism or Asperger's Syndrome in their lives. If you have two children that means the chance one of your children will be diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder is 1 in 29. If you have three children the chance is 1 in 19. If you're Jon and Kate plus Eight that's a little more than 1 in 7.
In commenting on this finding, Dr. Steve M. Edelson of the Autism Research Institute noted, "What we are discovering is that those with autism oftentimes have underlying medical disorders that impair gastro-intestinal, metabolic, and immune systems, and that when these problems are accurately diagnosed and treated, the symptoms of autism improve, sometimes to the point that the child is no longer classified as autistic."
As I was driving home today I heard a local doctor talking on the radio about those crazy people who think vaccines are linked to autism. The rate has gone from 1 in 10,000 twenty-five years ago to 1 in 100 today. Something is happening to our children that did not happen in the past. If not vaccines, then please find what is causing this problem. A generation of children and their parents deserve an answer.
You can read the full report HERE.
Kent Heckenlively is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.