The Tragically Hip, Chronically Sick: America's Young
Early Autism Diagnosis No Substitute for Prevention

Dachel Media Review: Communication Breakdown

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's commentary after the jump.

Dec 31, 2013, Forbes: Autism 2013: Communication Breakdown

Dec 30, 2013, CDC study says children with autism could be diagnosed earlier


What you won't see on this list are desires for cure or prevention or identifying a cause, areas where most autism research focuses. Although some members of the autistic community who did not respond in this (unscientific) survey have expressed a desire for cure, the concepts of cure and prevention bother many autistic people. For these autistics, targeting cure and prevention implies that they need to be prevented or cured, rather than appreciated and acknowledged for what they have to contribute, speaking or not, as part of the neurological diversity of the human species.

Ms Willingham likes to focus on neurodiversity and acceptance for autism.  That's a nice idea if people with autism were all savants and high functioning individuals.  I posted a comment and pointed out what autism is like for far too many families.  If Autism Brought Blindness and Autism Pretty and Ugly. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new project findings on the prevalence rate of 1 in 32 Somali children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Minneapolis. While the report says that Somali children with ASD are more likely to have cognitive disabilities and more significant disabilities than all other racial groups, the data say that the rate of autism in the Somali population is about the same as in the white population (1 in 32 vs. 1 in 36). The report also states that children who have autism aren't identified as early as they could be.

"This new data from the CDC indicate potentially higher rates of autism spectrum disorders in distinct populations than the national numbers, clearly show that more research is needed to better understand autism, and again makes the case that additional funds must be made available for services and supports for children with autism and their families.

"The CDC continues to do important work in this area, shining a bright light on what families associated with The Arc and our chapters experience everyday - autism spectrum disorders touch so many people, of all cultures and backgrounds, and we must do more to support them to achieve their goals and to foster an inclusive society. The Arc is committed to families of all backgrounds in our efforts to serve and support people with disabilities, through our network of 700 chapters across the country," said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

2014 will no doubt be just like every year since autism became an epidemic in America. More complacency. More calls for earlier diagnosing. Never the word "crisis." The difference between the 1 in 31 among Somalis/1 in 36 among kids in Minnesota in general and the rest of the U.S. where the official rate is one in 50/1 in 88, depending upon which figure you want to believe, isn't alarming. There's a vague call for "more research" ---which never means actually studying what causes autism.

The Somalis need to realize that their kids don't matter to our health officials.  All their efforts have been devoted to covering up the reality of nightmare  among Somali children in Minnesota.  This came to national attention in 2008.  Nothing's been done in five years until this study came out setting the rate at one in 32.  It's all part of the mystery of autism.  The puzzle piece is such a fitting symbol.


Eileen Nicole Simon

Cherry, thank you for your many meaningful contributions to this site, all the way from New Delhi! The internet is truly excellent for promoting worldwide discussions. My father was born and grew up in Allahabad, son of missionaries. In addition to English he was fluent in Hindee and Urdu, and had a lifelong interest in Indo-European linguistics.

Language is the distinctive feature of the human species, and its absence in a child should be a primary concern. This should be the focus of research on autism. Children growing up in India are often bilingual, and this expands understanding of many facets of life. How do children so easily learn a second language? Clearly it is through the sense of hearing, unless you first teach your nursery school children how to read.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

To Eileen Nicole Simon, Thankyou for writing about the blood flow to the auditory pathway. I know that you have mentioned this earlier, but at least one of the implications of this fact has now dawned on me. I realize that when children with some autism symptoms in my nursery school in New Delhi, do not respond to instructions, I am likely to perceive them as being mentally- cognitively impaired, when in fact there may be a hearing deficit .

Eileen Nicole Simon

Anne, thank you for keeping on top of all these media reports. I added a comment on Forbes commending you for continuing to point out the primary concern of parents dealing with the language handicap of their child with autism. Parents have as much a right to have their concerns addressed as the crybabies who claim to have had autism in childhood.

I pointed out research on development of children with Asperger syndrome by Cederlund and Gillberg (which can be found via pubMed). Late language development was found to be a problem for most children with Asperger syndrome. My son who is now 51 can be viewed as having Asperger syndrome. He still has an auditory processing disorder, which affects the way he interacts with other people.

I also responded to the comment that AoA is based on junk science, but that claims of vaccine safety based only on epidemiology are junk science. Dorit Reiss responded with a somewhat garbled comment. I responded to her comment pointing out the evidence of highest blood flow in the brain is to nuclei of the auditory pathway. Vaccines should be tested for toxic effects on the auditory system of the brain. Auditory system damage will impair a child’s ability to learn to speak.

Bob Moffitt

"While the report says that Somali children with ASD are more likely to have cognitive disabilities and more significant disabilities than all other racial groups, the data say that the rate of autism in the Somali population is about the same as in the white population (1 in 32 vs. 1 in 36). The report also states that children who have autism aren't identified as early as they could be."

Odd .. I tried hard to attain the rate of autism in the country of Somalia .. and .. the only information I could get was the rate of Somalia children in Minnesota.

So .. I will have to ask a rhetorical question:

"Is the rate of autism in the country of Somalia .. equal to the rate of "1 in 32" Somalia children living in the State of Minnesota?"

If not .. to my less educated mind .. comparing the rate of autism in Somalia children living in Minnesota .. with the rate of white children living in Minnesota .. is ludicrous.

If one were truly interested in identifying what is "causing" autism in Somalia children .. the Somali children in the US would be compared to the children living in Somalia.

Consider .. if the rate of autism in the country of Somalia is virtually non-existant .. which I suspect to be the case .. it would explain why some Somalia parents who have immigrated to the United States refer to autism as the "American disease".

Which means .. these parents KNOW whatever has "caused" the rate of Somalia children living in the State of Minnesota to be "1 in 32" .. has been introduced AFTER they left Somalia and entered the US.

Wonder what that "cause" could possibly be? Older parents? Pet shampoos? Living near freeways? ANY of the myriad of suspect "causes" that parents of US autistic children have been given as the reason for their child's autism?


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