This morning the CDC released the new Autism figures : 1 in 68.
This is a 30% increase since 2012.
1 in 68.
Are we scared yet? I don’t know about you, but I feel sick to the stomach. There’s 2 cases of measles in my state and it makes the national news, medical professionals panicking about an epidemic. Autism rates hit 1 in 68 and still it doesn’t seem anyone is scared.
This comes right on the brink of turning over your calendar to April : Autism Awareness Month. At the rate of 1 in 68 I feel pretty confident in saying that every single one of us knows of someone in their family or circle of friends who has a child with Autism. And meanwhile, while organisations raise money to buy pretty blue light globes to light up famous landmarks around the world to celebrate autism awareness, the numbers silently keep ticking, up, up, up. Enough with the awareness. We are all aware. We need ACTION and we need some movement towards looking at what the hell is going on?? We need to be looking at prevention. We need our governments to step up and fund some studies into what we can do to stop this number from increasing. What number is it going to take before they will do that? What number is going to cause enough panic?
Yes it’s a complicated issue. Is it the environment? Is it genetic? Is it vaccines? Is it food? Who knows. It’s probably a combination of all of them and it’s different for every child. That’s what we need to find out. It’s been decades since the autism numbers hit around the 1 in 10,000 mark and we are still no wiser as to what’s causing this and what do we need to do about it.
What this new number isn’t is “better diagnostic tools”. Crap. The new diagnostic criteria mean many children who previously qualified for a diagnosis now won’t … so maybe artificially the numbers will somehow look better down the track, while in reality thousands of families will struggle to find support and services for their children. Ask any school teacher who has a few undiagnosed kids in their class and they will tell you the numbers are probably already more than 1 in 68.
Autism rates have gone from 1 in 10,000 in 1980 to 1 in 68 in 2014. If you’re not scared yet, then you should be.