David Kirby: Do You Believe that 1 in 60 Men Has Autism?
Click HERE to read David's full post at HuffPo. (Listen, do you hear that? Trip-trap-trip-trap-trip-trap. Go comment please.)
It amazes me to see that the Obama Administration and mainstream media have been rather nonchalant about the startling news that 1-in-100 American children - and perhaps around 1-in-60 boys - have an autism spectrum disorder.
On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told listeners on a conference call about an upcoming CDC study showing that the estimated rate of autism increased by about 50% among children living in study locations who were born in 1994, compared with those born in 1996.
My 5 kids all have signs of allergies - including the 6yr old whose shots stopped at 1yr & the 3 yr old who has never had shots. So my kids' immune systems showed signs of problems at birth.
BUT, two of my older kids who received mercury exposure from dental amalgam work mom had done prior to pregnancy with the oldest & 5 mos into the pregnancy with the younger, are the ones who are neurologically damaged (Tourettes & PDD-NOS).
I believe vaccines/mercury/etc are not necessarily the culprits, but they sure as heck made things worse.
Posted by: Grace | October 13, 2009 at 02:40 PM
Dear Annette, AUTISM DIAGNOSIS IS "SEXY?!" SEXY?!?! really? REALLY?! WOW, one does not need to cue laughter, cause that's SO funny, i forgot to laugh!! And it prevented me from reading any further cause that's just crazy talk! I do not mean to reflect onto any other "Warrior Mom," but sexy is no longer a word in my vocabulary. Cleaning feces smearing / fonger painting off my basement walls, NOT so sexy! wow.
Posted by: KELLY MILAZZO | October 12, 2009 at 09:39 AM
I have a simple, yet major theory:Multiple vaccinations, by their very nature, are an insult to the human immune system and the brain, and that's where the Autism begins to take hold on a gene variation. Who decided newborns needed a Hep B vaccine upon birth instead of testing the mother for Hep B? We dump multiple vaccines all at once into these kids' bodies, and in one single day, their body has to fight 6 or 7 major diseases. It crashes the immune system. No two ways about it. That's why these kids' bodies break down after MMR.
Posted by: Mary McK | October 11, 2009 at 06:33 PM
OK, Someone cue the laughter, but I actually do believe it's possible that there could be as many as 1 in 60 men walking about with Autism or a spectrum disorder. I can't speak for the author's experiences which have never led him to meet anyone, but perhaps that same imbalance is what has led me to meet so many.
Before the Autism diagnosis was helpful (and an unfortunate crutch) and sexy among excuses we make, only those with the most extreme presentation got counted. Anyone who could be molded to conformity by parental direction was never considered for such a stigmatic diagnosis. Alas, those men grew to adults. Some of them geeks, some of them just horribly unable to connect on a social level.
While you're still holding your breath at my sharp words I will tell you that I live with 2 sons who have the proper diagnosis of Autism, and that I'm married to a man who should have been assisted with that diagnosis growing up. Having worked with children and young adults on the spectrum, it was easy to recognize in the man who I could love beyond the quirks (the suits that corresponded with days of the week, the weekly dinner menu that never varied, etc.).
A lot of men my husband's age and later were surely entitled to a diagnosis that would have helped them to understand themselves. They didn't get it and moved forward creating coping skills and adhering meticulously to what their parents advised. They became successful, sometimes in spite of themselves. Many found a home in the comfortable regimentation of the military. Others went into the then-budding field of computers. Others are, today, those iron-fisted accountants whose financial wizardry makes them gems to their company - in spite of their quirky personalities.
They cloaked themselves in the norms to which they could adapt and moved forward. And so we arm our sons today. Strive for the norm, be yourselves on your private time. Struggle but be attentive in school, come home and wander the back yard while rocking and waving your fingers in front of your eyes. Our sons have never been told they have a disability. They have been shown that everyone is unique and that differences are to be valued. One day they will learn that they also happen to fit into a diagnosis, but for now it's not a crutch.
Men like my husband, future men like my sons, will walk in the world - occasionally wearing the cloak of invisibility referenced by Sarah above.
Posted by: Annette | October 11, 2009 at 05:41 PM
those who know and believe what is happening have to have the courage and guts to stand up for our children . everyone worries what everyone else will think. from the reading i have done over the years , and our goverments economic buddy, and security, what else could it be. it doesnt take a brain surgeon. stick up for the children. instead of thinking how i feel my title position etc. my duty is to do what is in the best interest of my child and all the other children . regardless of the cost . our children come first.
Posted by: monica silverio | October 11, 2009 at 01:56 AM
thimerisol was never taken out of vaccines. well maby in 2oo1 they took thimerisol out of 1 vaccine, the following year they took it out of another and put back the thimerisol in the previous years thimerisol free vaccine$$$$$$
Posted by: monica silverio | October 11, 2009 at 01:44 AM
1 in 60? I can't wait to see the results come out over the next few years (not). In my son's old preschool class of 5 kids (4 boys and 1 girl), there was 1 autism, 1 aspergers and 1 being watched for bipolar/ADD w/aggression problems. All boys. 3 out of 5 with problems. I've heard similar stories from other mums of toddlers. Who knew anyone with autistic kids growing up? Did anyone know any autistic kids? I didn't. Now I know at least 4 other parents with diagnosed ASD kids and another going through the process and 2 with medicated ADHD. I don't know that many people either, I only moved here 7 years ago. This doesn't include the people I have met because my son has an ASD either.
It's depressing and scary.
Geeks are not autistic, I know tons of them, where do we start - they have eye contact, can speak, are not constantly pooping disgusting substances and can stay on task for more than 5 minutes.
Posted by: Sarah | October 10, 2009 at 03:46 PM
Silly people. We cant see the adults, because they get their invisibility cloaks when they turn 25.
Posted by: K Fuller Yuba City | October 10, 2009 at 01:42 PM
What Nessie King says.
Posted by: Terri Lewis | October 10, 2009 at 10:48 AM
Mr. Kirby, I appreciate your work here and on HP.
I have a question, which I posed to you on HP as well. You alternate between the terms "autism" and "ASD." The statistics are specifically for the full spectrum and not merely autism. Am I missing something?
Also, the Cal MIND study addresses the rate increase by concluding that there is no evidence that the increase is solely the result of a change in diagnosis. I believe you've cited this study before but wonder why you didn't in this article.
Posted by: Randy E (Gabriel's daddy) | October 10, 2009 at 07:51 AM
I work daily with young people (teens and young adults) and I have to say I believe the figure is an underestimation, and has been for a long time.
Ask any teacher.
In a class of 35 children, how many of those will have significant dyslexic difficulties? How many will have problems paying attention and staying on task, how many show anxiety and behavioural problems? How many have difficulties with comprehension and verbal expression? How many have tourettic behaviours such as noise making, swearing, irresistable impulses? How many of those children realistically have any prospect of leaving school with qualifications, getting and keeping a job, living successfully independently, raising a family and living a "normal" life?
One of the tenets of the education act UNDER BRITISH LAW is that children should be educated that they can make a meaningful contribution to society on leaving school.
In my experience I see at least 1/3 of all the young people who cross my path lack these very basic skills. At the end of the day, the label is irrelevant - dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, Asperger's Syndrome, PDD-NOS, ODD, OCD, Tourette's - any and all of these problems are on the spectrum and none of them are being supported appropriately.
They have problems with money management, drug and alcohol use, are unemployed, often homeless, their parents having given up on them at around 14 or 15 after they have been excluded from school yet again because the system does not support them.
We are sleepwalking into a crisis.
It is already affecting our society, communication, and our imagination as a gestaltic whole.
Let us not forget, autism is not a sterile disorder. These children are already having children themselves.
Posted by: Nessie King | October 10, 2009 at 06:08 AM
I think the original title of the piece is "Do you believe that 1 in 60 American males has autism?"
For the record, I know that 1 in 60 MEN do not have autism. My husband has worked in a field that's geek central for more than a decade. Geeks are out there but geekism isn't autism. I don't even know how anyone could mistake the two things. What's weird too is that some of the geekiest guys in his firm aren't the ones having children who develop autism. Autism isn't merely a more elaborate expression of geekery. It's an illness. I personally think the rate of boys with autism in the US is worse than the British stat of 1/38.
Posted by: Gatogorra | October 09, 2009 at 11:40 PM
Of course I believe it. If anything, I think it is underestimated for the current day. The question is where do we go from here? Numbers don't mean much unless we do something with them.
As my 2 yr old ASD son verbally stims in the background, I'm hopeful we will see these numbers come back down...somehow...in the future.
Posted by: Mary | October 09, 2009 at 09:51 PM