By Anne Dachel
December 10, U.S. News ran the article: New Kids' Health Site Offers Advice From Pediatricians by Nancy Shute. (HERE)
Shute wrote, “Seeking advice from pediatricians on your kids’ health just got easier. The American Academy of Pediatrics today launched a website, healthychildren.org, in an effort to bring ‘pediatrician-approved health information’ to the often-confusing world of online medical advice.”
Lots of information is included on the site about vaccinations. We’re told, “The use of vaccines has led to major improvements in child health over a relatively short period. Many of the infectious illnesses you or your parents had as children, from chickenpox to polio to measles, no longer affect most children today. If you follow the immunization guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you can help make your child healthier than was ever possible in earlier generations.”
You can find information on every vaccine in the schedule.
You have to dig around, but you can find autism included too. If you hit Health Issues, you’ll find a list of conditions which don’t include autism. However, if you go to “Developmental Disabilities," you can view the close-up photo of an obviously pregnant woman’s stomach, next to the bold-face type, “Congenital Abnormalities.” If you then scroll down to the listing to “Mental Retardation and Pervasive Developmental Disorders,” your hit will tell you about “Autism and Related Disorders.” At this point it gets a little murky because instead of reading about just autism, you’ll also find info on mental retardation, PDD, ADHD, and Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s all a kind of cloudy mix of developmental problems and I pity the parent who just learned their child has autism.
Under treatment, the AAP tells us, “Medication may be helpful for specific symptoms,” but there are side effects.
“Most children with mental retardation/ADHD or PDD/ADHD will be able to remain in a regular public school, but may need special education–related services such as speech/language therapy and behavior management programs. Children with more serious forms of PDD, including autism, require a more intense program of behavior therapy than that used for children with ADHD alone. You can further support your child’s progress by educating yourself about his condition, monitoring the latest research on his areas of disability, and advocating for his rights and appropriate services within the public school system.”
That’s official then parents, you’re on your own. It’s up to you to educate yourselves.
In addition, if you really are interested in learning about autism, you can go back to “Health Issues” and hit “View All.” There you’ll find "Autism" listed. (HERE)
Here’s where all the details about autism are located. They list the eleven signs of autism you should look for by 18 months. I couldn’t miss the stunning comment, “Because autism is a genetic disorder,…”
We’re told that thanks to increased awareness, we’re now finding this genetic disorder everywhere. It's nothing to worry about though.
The AAP says, “Many experts have attributed the increased prevalence of autism in recent years not to a greater incidence of the disorder itself but to improved awareness of the early signs and symptoms by parents and pediatricians alike. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised the autism diagnosis rate from 5 in 10,000 to roughly 6 in 1,000 (or nearly 1 in 150) children.”
According to the AAP, the CDC only “recently” upped the rate from 5 in 10,000 to "nearly 1 in 150." It seems that they missed the more current rate of one in every 91 kids, one in every 58 boys. No matter, it’s all, “Improved Awareness.”
Under the title, “Getting Past the Myths,” the AAP includes commentary by Paul Lipkin, M.D., FAAP, director for the Center of Development and Learning at the Kennedy
Krieger Institute and immediate past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Children with Disabilities.
'There has been a feeling that autism is a problem of children’s emotions or that it relates to how parents raise their child,' explains Lipkin. 'In fact, we know it’s primarily a problem in communication that children are born with that just becomes apparent over time.'
“Another myth is that routine vaccinations can bring on autism in a normally developing child. Many studies have looked at this claim and, to date, none have found any scientific evidence to support it. There are a lot of people suggesting that there are things in the environment or in vaccines that are causing autism,' notes Lipkin. ‘It’s not environmentally caused. It’s something that’s congenital.’
“To avoid the myths and misconceptions, concerned parents should always start with their child’s pediatrician, who can rule out other medical conditions and evaluate the child using a simple screening test.”
There you have it--autism is caused not by bad parenting, but by bad genes. There are no environmental triggers. There’s no mention of curing your child, since you can’t change the genetic make-up a child is born with.
Nothing ever changes when it comes to autism, according to the AAP. This great new info site has nothing but the same old tired claims. It's hard to image any parent even bothering to look at it when it comes to finding out about autism.
Going back to the U.S. News article, I find myself agreeing with Nancy Shute’s assessment, ‘If this site is destined to be the definitive resource on children’s health, it’s got to do better than that.’
Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.