CDC estimates that the rate of autism in 8-year-olds in the US is 1 in 88 children . Why so many today ?
Consider , that no one was autistic before 1944 - because the condition had not been named or described .By 1953 , a doctor said , the diagnosis had "threatened to become fashion "
Is autism overdiagnosed or is it more prevalent for some reason ? Or could it be , that awareness and better diagnostic techniques identify people with autism , that would have once been diagnosed as something else ?
To most experts in autism and an autism epidemic , the biggest factors accounting for the boost in autism prevalence are the shifting description and increased awareness about the disorder .
Several decades after te introduction of autism as a diagnosis , researchers have reported , that professionals are still engaging in " diagnostic substitution " , moving people from one diagnostic category such as " mental retardation " or " language impairment " to the autism category .
For instance , in one recent study , researchers at UCLA re-examined a population 489 children , who had been living in Utah in the 198´s .
their first results in 1990 identified 108 children in the study population , who received a classification of " challenged " ( what we consider today as to be " intellectually disabled " ) but who were not diagnosed as autistic .
When the researchers went back and applied today´s autism diagnosis criteria to the same 108 kids , they found that 64 of them would have received would have received an autism diagnosis today , along with their diagnosis of of intellectual disability .
Further evidence comes from developmental neuropsychologist Dorothy Bishop and colleagues , who completed a study investigating re-evaluation of adults who had been identified in childhood as having developmental language disorder rather than autism .
Using diagnostic tools to evaluate them today , Bishop´s group found , that a fifth of these adults met the criteria for an autism spectrum disorder , when they previously had not been recognised as autistic .
Another strong argument against the specter of an emerging autism epidemic is , that prevalence of the disorder is notably similar from country to country and between generations .
A 2011 UK study of a large adult populationfound a a constant prevalence of about 1 % among adults , similar to that found in UK children and about where the rates are now in US kids .
In other words , there are as many adults as kids walking around with autism , suggesting stable rates across generations , at least when people bother to look at adults .
And back in 1996 , Lorna Wing ( the autism expert , who translated Asperger´s seminal paper ) tentatively estimated an autism spectrum prevalence of 0.91 % that keeps popping up in studies today .
It appears that quite a few people , that were warehoused in insane asylums in previous centuries would now be diagnosed more accurately