Breaking News: 1 in 59 children Born in 2006 have Autism, 1 in 36 between the ages of 3 and 17. What’s going on?
On April 27, 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2014 report of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.1 The report declares that the autism rate for 8-year-old children born in 2006 was 1 in 59, by 15% from the rate of 1 in 68 described in the 2012 ADDM report2 and an increase of 20% for the sites (6 out of 11) that participated in the 2012 survey.
The authors declared their new findings, “provide evidence that the prevalence of ASD is higher than previously reported estimates and continues to vary among certain racial/ethnic groups and communities.” Despite the fact that autism rates have risen from 1 in 149 in their initial 2000 ADDM report3 and from 1 in 10,000 in the earliest American studies,4 the new report only grudgingly acknowledges (on page 15 of 23) that “with prevalence of ASD reaching nearly 3% in some communities and representing an increase of 150% since 2000, ASD is an urgent public health concern.” Oddly, as it has become obvious that America has a raging autism epidemic, the CDC’s main goal in reporting autism rates is to suppress public concern over what is now a clear national emergency.
Notably, these new rates are significantly lower than those reported last November by another branch of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). In that study, the CDC reported a 2016 autism rate of 1 in 36 in American children aged 3-17 years old, and 1 in 28 boys.5
When the NCHS study was released, no major news outlets reported on what was a new record high rate for autism.6
Inexplicably, in the face of these extraordinarily high and [increasing] rates, the CDC’s official position on the autism epidemic has not changed. “More people than ever before are being diagnosed with ASD. It is unclear how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASD and better efforts in diagnosis. However, a true increase in the number of people with an ASD cannot be ruled out.”7
It is impossible to understate the seriousness of the autism epidemic. It has enormous implications for our country.
- Something new and terrible is happening to a generation of American children.
- Autism has largely been a problem of American children, imposing an overwhelming burden on American schools for the last three decades
- There are less than 200,000 adults with autism today. At the current rate of growth, we will see an adult autistic population of 5 million in 25 years
- If the epidemic doesn’t stop, a tsunami of disabled adults will soon overwhelm the infrastructure available to serve them
- Today, most individuals with autism live with their parents. As this disabled population enters adulthood, their parents will die leaving them no natural caregiver.
- We are not remotely prepared for the burden of this new population
- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2014 Principal Investigators. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged eight years—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 sites, United States, 2014. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2018;Apr 27;67(6):1-23..