Survey Says: 1 in 50 School-Age Kids Have Autism

This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.

When I was growing up in the 1980s, I didn’t know anyone with autism. I didn’t even know what autism was –  all I knew about autism was Rain Man.

Norrin was diagnosed with autism in 2008. At that time, the statistics were 1 in 110 kids were diagnosed with autism. Then last year, the statistics increased to 1 in 88.  And now, new numbers reveal that every 1 in 5o school age children have an autism diagnosis.

Is autism an epidemic? Is it being over diagnosed by doctors? Is it like ADD? Are parents more aware? Or do parents just need to ‘get a grip?’ Almost everyone has an opinion.

(And let’s not even get started on what people think causes autism.) 

I don’t believe autism is an epidemic to freak out about. I don’t think it’s anything like ADD. And if someone told me to get a grip about my kid…I’d have some words for them.

But I do feel that in recent years, there has been a heightened sense of autism awareness – especially among new parents. Yesterday, I met a dad who said his son started Early Intervention services at sixteen months old. Norrin was around sixteen months old when I first suspected something was wrong. And I waited until Norrin turned two to start the evaluation process. I think if I were concerned today, I wouldn’t have waited.

The new statistic also found “that many children were being diagnosed with autism after age 7.” Autism is such a wide spectrum and I can understand how so many children fall between the cracks. And other studies have revealed that minority children are often diagnosed later than white children.

While the new numbers are important and raise many questions – I don’t think that’s  the conversation we should be having – not right now anyway. I think as parents, as citizens, our main concern is ensuring that kids with autism are getting the services and support they need. Because those are the numbers I’m really interested in seeing.

What are your thoughts/concerns on the latest autism numbers?  

 

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