Autism The Missing Piece: A non partisan documentary addressing the challenges and financial crisis of autism spectrum disorders in The United States. Watch below or on YouTube https://youtu.be/2uSsVjJbH0I or at Fair Autism Media
Subjects covered include:
Advocacy, Policy and Legislation,
CDC and the escalating prevalence rates of autism
Adult Transition and Services
Co-occurring Medical Conditions
The Autism Financial Crisis
By Anne Dachel
Senior CDC autism researcher sounds alarm over the fact that the “broadest increase” in autism is among children with the “highest level of impairment,” and he explains how the agency plans to cover up the numbers
Every once in a while a film comes with really stunning information from very credible sources. That’s how I would describe the release of a documentary called, The Missing Piece produced by Michael Smith, Executive Director Foundation for Autism Information and Research.
It’s a film about autism. It focuses on the very real increase in the rate of autism and what a lot of experts have to say about it. Included are interviews by Smith with people like Dr. David Amaral, Research Director at UC Davis MIND Institute, Rick Rollens, Former Secretary of the California State Senate, Co-Founder of the U.C. Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, and autism lobbyist in California, Sheri Marino, to Autism Think Tank/Autism Healthcare Collaborative (or now Autism Healthcare collaborative), Dr. Walter Zahorodny, Director of the New Jersey Autism Study and the leading researcher for the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM).
Dr. Walter Zahorodny says that he’s has been working on autism since 2000, and he’s responsible for the New Jersey autism numbers, considered the most accurate in the country at one in every 34 children. He’s an insider and his views have a lot of credibility.
There are a number of topics covered in this film, but what was most intriguing were the comments on what the autism numbers really are and what we’re going to have to deal with in the not-too-distant future. I transcribed the entire film, but I wanted to share the parts that truly spell disaster.
Zahorodny begins his comments by rejecting the claim that all the autism in children today is simply the result of better diagnosing.
I’m always struck by the fact that people think the prevalence is increasing because we’re just getting better at identifying subtly affected children.
That’s definitely not the case.
Autism is going up and has increased significantly across every group that we look at: boys and girls, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, all up significantly. Children from rich communities and poor towns, up significantly.
Zahorodny goes on to sound an alarm about what’s happening, using terms like tsunami, crisis and epidemic, words we’ve never heard from officials at the CDC. And not only are the increases real, but the biggest increase is in children with the most severe form of autism.
Interestingly enough, we’ve seen the widest or the broadest increase among the children who have the highest level of impairment of autism, not the subtle, mild levels of impairment.
So I do consider escalating autism prevalence to be a public health crisis.
The cliché now to me, epidemic is a cliché. People talk about it in many different ways. The public’s not sensitive to that term anymore.
If there’s a stronger term, I’d be in favor of using it.
But when we saw autism prevalence go from one to two percent, nobody objected or seemed concerned, and now we’ve gone from two percent to three percent, and I also see no significant concern or urgency.
On the other hand, we’re seen autism escalating very progressively in the last 10 and 15 years, and I’m a little bit concerned why nobody really sees this tsunami right there in front of us.
We saw a very significant rise in prevalence between the 2012 and 2014 cycle. It was over 25 percent in a 2 year period. That’s very significant.
Because of his research, Zahorodny is sure the autism numbers for the U.S. are worse than what the CDC admits to.
You can’t understand what has to happen for these children unless you know how many are affected.
And this is the beginning. This is the way that you appreciate the scope of the problem.
We know, we do surveillance in Essex, Hudson and Union Counties. They’re part of the New York metropolitan region, and if our rate is three percent, I would bet that the rate in all of your suburban, urban New York counties would be the same.
Michael Smith adds this about Zahorodny’s findings:
One of the most compelling epidemiological studies that I’ve seen in recent history is the study from Dr. Zahorodny in New Jersey showing that 4.4 percent of the boys in the State of New Jersey now have an autism spectrum disorder.
What is troubling about that study is the fact that we know that not all of these kids are diagnosed by age four, and the real rates could be as high as six percent.
If we look at the fact of how many of these kids have an intellectual disability or nonverbal, we could be looking at a situation in New Jersey right now where three percent of these boys are going to grow up to be non-verbal and have an intellectual disability, the term we use now instead of mental retardation.
So that’s very troubling, and I’m really concerned why other states are not making epidemiological studies a major priority so that they can manage the crisis that they have upon them in their states right now.
Zahorodny actually accuses the CDC of ignoring the autism disaster along with the media.
For some reason, the CDC has been very effective in massaging the message in the last few years, and whatever the CDC offers as a bullet point or two, invariably winds up being repeated almost verbatim in the leading press reports, and then everybody else copies those.
I find that there’s very little independent investigation by the media. …
… they don’t really know how to address the problem. I’m certain that people there understand the magnitude and the scope of the crisis, but if you don’t have any way of explaining it to the public, it’s embarrassing to come forward and say, we’ve seen autism, a significant developmental disorder, rise 200 percent and we don’t know why that is.
I can say that because I’m not a public health authority, but if one of my main responsibilities was trying to project a sense of confidence and authority, I wouldn’t be repeating that I don’t understand why an important problem is occurring.
Finally Zahorodny reveals what can only be seen as a sinister plan coming from the CDC. Instead of addressing the autism epidemic with the full force of a multi-billion dollar institution, they’re plotting to cover it all up by changing the counting method.
…we were surprised, or at least I was surprised a week or two ago when we had a webinar with the CDC during which all the investigators that are going to continue doing surveillance were notified that the methodology is going to be changing and changing, I’d say, rather dramatically.
Instead of really doing active case finding going forward, the CDC now wants us to only identify children who have already received an autism diagnosis by age eight.
That’s a lot simpler. It’s a lot more efficient, but it’s going to give us no information about the expression of autism, and it will certainly suppress the estimate of autism prevalence.
My co-investigator took a look at this a few days ago, and she found that if we used the new, the proposed methodology in 2014, instead of the traditional active case finding methodology, our rate wouldn’t have been 29.3 per thousand, it would be 21 per thousand.
So there’s a gigantic difference between two percent and three percent.
Michael Smith posed this question to Zahorodny:
If the rates are going to be suppressed by 20 to 30 percent under the new methodology, can we expect the CDC to issue press releases next year saying, that the prevalence rates of autism are going down when we know that they’re actually still going up, but they’ve just changed the methodology?
Zahorodny: I’m not so sure that the public health authorities really grasp this even in New Jersey and probably not in New York.
I don’t think that they really appreciate the magnitude of the health crisis, but something has to wake those people up because they’re the ones who can pass the laws and shift the policy decisions so as to be ready to help.
Other autism experts expressed their fears over the lack of any official action to address the autism crisis.
Rick Rollens in California:
[I]t’s the number one public health crisis in our country. There’s no doubt. It’s at this level that when we’re adding one new child every 42 minutes in the State of California with autism, something has got to be done….
California is really under the gun. We’ve now established waiting lists for services, which has never happened before in our state, because we can’t pay providers the rate that they need to stay in business to serve this very challenging population.
Sheri Marino, speech pathologist:
It’s a public health crisis because at the rate we’re going, we’re not going to be able to sustain this. This is a bubble that’s going to burst.
We can’t afford, as it is, the educational needs and the therapeutic needs and now we have the medical needs on top that we’re just [now] understanding.
One slide summed up what the autism price tag will mean for the United States:
Within the next decade the projected annual cost of autism will exceed annual cost of social security in the United States
Why don’t we ever hear the truth about what autism is doing to all of us?
Anne Dachel transcribed the dialogue here: Download The Missing Piece Transcribed By Anne Dachel