By Anne Dachel
Over the last 30 years a large group of parents have increasingly made the claim that their normally developing children were negatively affected by routine childhood vaccines resulting in a diagnosis of autism.
Those making this charge were quickly met with suspicion and dismissed as “anti-vaxxers.”
All the science was stacked up against them. Countless studies let vaccines off the hook. Parents needed to move on. Autism was just something parents had to learn to accept and live with as best as they could.
As far as the ever-increasing autism rate is concerned, no increase has ever shown that more kids have autism.
A story on October 20th proves my point. Moms.com, a Canadian site, published a piece from the U.K. called , Autism Diagnosis Increased Nearly 800% Over Last 20 Years, which was all about how there hasn’t been any real increase in autism; it’s just that more girls and adults have been recognized as having the disorder. That accounts for the skyrocketing numbers.
Another piece, Is Autism Overdiagnosed? , published on October 12th, made the case for “changing diagnostic criteria and reporting practices” being the reasons we think that there is more autism out there.
Recent studies do seem to point to an overdiagnosis of the condition. Not only is autism being overdiagnosed but research also suggests that the difference between those with autism and those without the condition are shrinking
Reports like these seem to allay fears that something really sinister is happening with the number of children with an autism diagnosis.
YET, regardless of how many times experts and officials tell us that autism is a normal and acceptable part of childhood, what’s happening in the real world is proof of the damage being done.
My site, Loss of Brain Trust, which has covered the decline of education globally for the last four and a half years, shows us the reality of how sick our children truly are today.
Someone should have to explain what’s happening to schools here and abroad. I doubt if the claims of over-diagnosing and an increase in adults with autism have any relevancy when it comes school districts spending millions on more and more students who can’t learn or behave as children have always been expected to. Autism is just aspect of dysfunctional kids today.
Here’s another look at a week’s worth of stories. Again the U.K. dominates the news.
U.K.: The national government approved $3.6B in special education funding for kids in mainstream schools and special schools.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to say the funds will help back more than 30,000 new places for pupils to support their learning in both mainstream and special educational needs schools….
The move comes as there is rising demand for specialist support because the school age population is expected to be around 10% higher in 2025 than it was in 2010.
The Treasury says the measure will almost triple the amount of this year’s capital funding for the most disadvantaged young people through specialised educational support....
A £300 million [$410M] fund in 2021-2022 was announced at last year’s Spending Review for new places for students with special educational needs and disabilities. This was almost four times as much provided in the previous year….
(There is no logic to the claim that there is “rising demand” due to an expected 10% increase in the student population from 2010 to 2025. The special education numbers they’re talking about are dramatically more than just 10%.)
U.K. More reporting on the special ed budget increase.
Children with special educational needs will receive a 2.6 billion-pound [$3.6B] funding boost over the next three years. Another 3 billion pounds [$4B] will be spent on improving skills among those aged 16 and over and 560 million pounds on improving adult numeracy.
U.K. A new report raises serious concerns about the lack of funding for special education AT THE SAME TIME the national government okayed billions for schools.
97% of school leaders expressed concern over the increasing struggle to provide the necessary support for SEND students, labelling their funding for this as ‘insufficient’ according to a recent poll by the National Association of Head Teachers.
In fact, nearly a third of headteachers said they were forced to slash their budgets in 2020 - 2021 and 35% said that they would make further cuts this coming academic year. More than four in five admitted to having to buy extra support services that were previously funded by the local council….
U.K.: Parents report having to wait two and four years just for an autism assessment.
Sonya Mallin, who has ten-year-old twin girls, has joined forces with Jess Tomlinson from Warwickshire to call on the government to provide resources to reduce autism and ADHD assessment waiting times for children and adults.
Jess started a petition after waiting nearly four years for her son’s assessment and then joined forces with Sonya to launch the Months Not Years campaign to highlight just how widespread the problem has become. …
Sonya said: “We’ve been waiting nearly two years for my daughter to go through the assessment.
Jess, a mother of three, had been fighting for support for her younger son since 2016 before he was put on the waiting list for an assessment in March last year. Her eldest child, a ten-year-old boy, has been waiting nearly four years….
“Bringing down waiting times is a priority in the NHS Long-Term Plan and the Government’s new five-year autism strategy promises to address this with £13million [$18M] allocated. This is important but only the first year of the strategy has funding at the moment. The Government must honour its commitments to autistic people and families by fully funding the strategy in the upcoming Spending Review. “For thousands of autistic children, adults and families, progress can’t come quickly enough.”
Basingstoke: A new school in Basingstoke which caters for children with autism has opened. The Austen academy in Shakespeare Road has 128 students aged from 5 through to 16.
The headteacher stated, ‘We are thrilled.’
Dorset: DORSET Council has revealed how it is spending £37.5m [$52M] of funding earmarked to improve the lives of children with additional needs - including the creation of new schools. The funding was secured to help deliver the council’s aim, set out in its Children’s Plan, of providing the best education for Dorset children and young people with special educational needs and or abilities (SEND) for the next five years. The council developed the plans in response to the growing need for more special educational provision….
The council's roadmap to deliver the programme includes a scheme to open the Dorset Centre of Excellence – a new school in Shaftesbury based on the former St Mary's site to open with an initial 60 additional places in the 2021/22 academic year, with further phasing as it seeks to achieve 280 places in total over the subsequent years. The council is also working towards opening an additional site for Wimborne's Beaucroft Special School – which will bring approximately 75 additional places in 2022/23.
Andover: ANDOVER town council has given its support to a planning application put forward by a special education needs school to allow it to expand.
Chapel Hill: Becton School – an Ofsted Outstanding hospital school for young people with medical and mental health needs – has opened its new site at Chapel House, Hillsborough Barracks. The new site is mainly supporting young people with mental health needs and bosses say it allows for an increase in places, as part of the city’s response to this growing need…
The U.S. is dealing with its own increase in demand.
Carlisle, PA: A local autism school is expanding its campus due to “a greater demand of services.”
Brunswick, ME: The Brunswick Junior High has a support dog to help kids with stress.
“There has been a couple of times where we have had some students who have been really quite dysregulated emotionally, some screaming and yelling and maybe throwing stuff,” said Prophett. “Desi comes in, and it’s pretty instantaneous. Within the first three to five minutes kids are visibly calmer, you can see their bodies relax, they may ask to lay with her, or give her a hug. It’s almost like she instinctually knows which kids in the classroom are having a hard time.”
According to Pawesome Advice, an online resource that collect expert advice and data for pet owners, emotional support animals have gained “incredible popularity” over the last decade, and there are now more than 65,000 of them in the U.S.
The Hollister Early Childhood Center is getting a sensory room for students, thanks to a special education teacher.
Sarah Combs, a special education teacher at the Hollister Early Childhood Center, applied for and received a $500 grant from the Missouri Retired Teachers Association to create a sensory room for students with sensory needs, according to a press release from Hollister School District. …
“On any particular day, there could be 50 kids who come through the room. In a week it could be over 300 kids, you know, it depends on when the teachers want to bring them and how often their students need refocus time,” Combs said. “This started more for the mindset of the special education kids, but then like once we started doing it we realized all kids could benefit from this kind of room….”\
We’re seeing a lot of social and emotional needs, especially through the COVID crisis,” Smith said. “We know it’s in the headlines every day. It is affecting the mental health of adults, but also for our kids. Our kids’ brains are not fully developed yet. We have preschool, kindergarten and first grade in this building, and they cannot process what is going on. All they know is ‘I’m frustrated. I’m angry. I’m sad.’