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Autism hysteria: look at the facts!


The facts:
1.Autism is a neural development disorder.
2.Autism is genetically based.
3.There is no cure for autism.

A recent study in the Journal “Pediatrics” suggests that 1 in 100 children have some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Thatʼs about 1% of children.

It sounds scary. But letʼs pretend weʼre Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown for a moment. Letʼs start by examining how the data was collected:

In phone interviews of 78,000 families, parents were asked if their child was ever told by any health care provider that he had an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). (Keep in mind that includes autism, Aspergers and pervasive developmental disorder).

Honestly, Iʼm not sure I know anyone who wasnʼt told at some point by someone that their child had ASD. Either kids were stacking cans, refusing to socialize, or throwing tantrums at Target. Whatever the negative behavior, there are plenty of health care providers out there who are all too willing to label the first signs of antisocial behavior as ASD. However, the mere asking does not dictate the disease.

The investigators also asked a follow-up question: Did these same ASD children still have the disease? The answer? 40% of parents and guardians said no.

OK, I know how inconvenient factual evidence can be, but letʼs glance back to the three undisputed facts at the top of the page. Check out number 3. There is no cure for Autism. Get out your magnifying glass and fingerprint duster kit. Itʼs not going to take much detective work to figure this one out. Obviously, 40% of kids included in the ASD numbers did not really have autism at all. Why am I the only one who sees this clearly? Do you think nearly half of all ASD sufferers were touched by some kind of Godly miracle? Maybe these lucky kids were prayed for by a group of extremely pious Tibetan monks? Or maybe they never had autism to begin with!

Iʼm tired of the hysteria. There are more cases of autism and ASD today because thatʼs how weʼre classifying every childhood behavioral abnormality. Have you ever bothered to notice that the numbers of children labelled mentally retarded has decreased in direct proportion to the increase of ASD sufferers? Wow, what a starting coincidence.

But what really pisses me off is that people want to believe in a cure that doesn’t yet exist. We want it so badly that we’re willing to believe anything. Look, I think we will find a cure, and hopefully soon. It will more than likely involve some highly advanced genetic engineering. Scientists are working hard to locate the Autism genes and find ways to repair or replace them. But it could take years. And I think itʼs a shame that so many families are shelling out good money to charlatans who promise to end Autism thru detox, diet, exercise, chiropractic adjustments, and laser treatments. If your child truly has autism, these fads are a waste of money and hope.

Don’t get me wrong, Iʼm all for giving your child all that you can in terms of love, resources, encouragement, education. If you have a child who does truly suffer from Autism, my deepest wish is that a cure will be found and that you and your child can live a relatively normal life. All I ask is that we donʼt insist that every childhood behavioral quirk is part of the Autism Spectrum. Letʼs use the resources and money we have for the children who really need it. That way we really can concentrate our efforts on solving the mystery of this debilitating disease.

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

2 responses to “Autism hysteria: look at the facts!

  1. Dan ⋅

    Debra, for once I agree with you. In 2009 everything has to be a disorder, syndrome or disease worthy of a 10K walk/run fundraiser. It’s like the ‘diagnosis’ of ADD. Every kid who won’t concentrate on their homework or who doesn’t listen can’t just be a kid who hates homework or doesn’t listen. They have to have something treatable or it’ll reflect poorly on the parents.

  2. Thanks for your information friends

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