In the midst of a flurry of coverage in the media about the threat posed by measles outbreaks in the U.S., I found a truly frightening story from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
State autism-treatment options scarce, but growing was all about how the state government fails children with autism. It seems that in Arkansas, autism is a real problem.
The Democrat Gazette gives readers real things to worry about. It’s the inevitable position every state in the U.S. will be in the next few years.
To summarize: the epidemic of autism shows no signs of slowing down, and there simply aren’t enough services to address it.
Reporter Alex Golden uses the example of a 2 year-old who stopped talking and was diagnosed with autism. Incredibly, Golden says nothing about why a child would regress. It’s just autism.
From there he goes on to talk about THE PRICE TAG OF AUTISM.
Autism costs an average of about $60,000 a year through childhood, with the bulk of the costs in special services and lost wages related to increased demands on one or both parents. Costs increase with the occurrence of intellectual disability.
And it isn’t just the cost of care, what’s worse is the absence of help for these children.
It's also a struggle in Northwest Arkansas to get treatment for children who are on the autism spectrum, a problem that parents and professionals attribute to a lack of services and professionals in the field. …
Golden cites one service provider who just can’t keep up with demand.
The Schmieding Center is expecting about 2,000 referrals for autism evaluations this year, but it will be able to conduct only about 300, said Dr. Mary Ann Scott, the center's section chief. The center has a limited number of providers who diagnose autism, and an evaluation generally takes a provider's entire workday, Scott said. About 40%, or 800, of the referrals complete the process to get on Schmieding's wait list. The list is nine to 15 months long, she said.
Another clinician tells us that “the whole state is underserved in applied behavior analysis therapy.”
The rate of one in 59 CHILDREN is cited and Golden says that “more children” have autism today.
So what’s happening here? Where did this childhood condition come from? Why are officials failing so many?
Golden isn’t really interested in any of that. He retreats to the official mantra on autism: The exact reason for that increase is unclear but is likely, in part, because of better detection and a broader definition of the disorder, the CDC says.
If it were really the case that “better detection”/”boarder definition” is responsible for the increase, we logically would have to ask what Arkansas did for these kids when their disorder was called something else.
Has Arkansas always ignored kids disabled with autism like this? Golden doesn’t care. He tells us there’s nothing to worry about. The increase may not be real
Members of the press almost always talk like this. There is no concern over why it’s so easy to diagnose kids with autism, but no one is able to find the same rate among adults.
One in 59 children with autism also means that one in 38 boys is autistic. Obstetricians should have to warn every pregnant woman about those odds, especially if the child she’s carrying is a boy.
Clearly, Golden has no concept of the future. IF ARKANSAS can’t provide for the majority of autistic children today, what’s going to happen when they’re adults? What are the chances there will be anything for them?
Reporters are like federal health officials and doctors. All of them look at autism as a medical curiosity we have all the time in the world to figure out. I’m sure they’ll all be scratching their collective heads over autism when the adults have no place to go and the children just keep on coming.
Reporters like Golden have no idea how the autism numbers have grown.
1995: 1 in 500
2001: 1 in 250
2004: 1 in 166
2007: 1 in 150
2009: 1 in 110
2012: 1 in 88
2014: 1 in 68
2018: 1 in 59
(New Jersey, 2018: 1 in 34, 1 in every 22 boys)
The media knows nothing about the history of autism, and this is their biggest failure.
The “boarder definition” claim comes from the 1994 DSM IV that added milder symptoms featured in Asperger’s Syndrome.
Then in 2013, the DSM 5 dropped the sub-diagnoses of Asperger’s et al., so the definition was narrowed with no effect on the relentlessly increasing rate.
Welcome to the United States of Autism. It’s where we’re headed.