Originally Posted by prosciencemum
Serenbat - so are you suggesting the increase in diagnose in the USA is due to a wish to get kids on the spectrum to qualify for help? That's an interesting idea - not one is heard before, but may make sense.
Shouldn't be an issue in most European countries with excellent tax funded health care.
It's not as simple as how you put it.
There is a true increase in the number of children who are having major behavioral issues that are consistent with those on the autism spectrum. These children may not be non-verbal, incontinent, spinning, flapping, rocking,or banging their head on the wall 24-7, but they still have major issues that prevent them from functioning adequately in the classroom. Ask any kindergarten teacher who has taught for more than 20 years. This increase is real, and not a result of improved diagnosis.
Remember, the diagnostic criteria changed in DSM-4 in 1994. That was 19 years ago, but diagnoses were still increasing steadily, every year, through 2008 (the latest year we have official CDC statistics for children with autism diagnoses, with the children in those rates being born in 2000).
What Serenbat is talking about is the fact that if your child displays behaviors and difficulties consistent with those found on the autism spectrum (such as speech delay, vestibular issues, lack of eye contact, failure to learn appropriate social skills, and/or the rigidity/ OCD behavior associated with Asperger's syndrome), parents are strongly encouraged to have their child screened for autism. In the past, parents have often balked at this, because they don't want their child labeled. But obtaining a diagnosis (and therefore a label) is often the only way to get help to DEAL with the behaviors and difficulties.
There is so much that is purposely muddled in the issue of autism. Diagnosis is one. Another is the issue of whether autistic children respond to dietary intervention. There have recently been "studies" (i use the term loosely, you'll see why in a second) that were purposely set up to read to the average citizen as though it were a new study disproving the link between autism and gluten/casein. But when you look at the "studies," what they are is a retrospective of medical records kept before the average person--no, before the average DOCTOR--had ever heard of gluten. So when they analyzed the records, they found (surprise surprise) no indication of gluten-free or casein-free diets being at all helpful.
If you know anything at all about gluten-free diets, this is exactly what you'd expect. When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, less than a decade ago, I met with 2 separate nutritionists. One thought that Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes were gluten-free, and suggested I eat them (they are not). The other thought that white bread (as opposed to wheat bread) was gluten-free, and told me to buy it fresh at a specific local bakery (whose owner immediately told me that she had never carried gluten-free bread, and that she wouldn't even order any, because she couldn't sell it in a facility with wheat flour blowing all over).
The point is, if these 2 were supposedly experts in nutrition, and they hadn't the faintest idea of what a gluten-free diet really entails, AS LATE AS THE MID-1990's, I don't think you're going to find that desperate parents of autistic children, trying a complicated diet in the pre-internet dark ages, would actually have managed a 100% gluten-free diet.
And anyone with celiac or gluten sensitivity will tell you (as well as anyone whose autistic child turns out to be sensitive to gluten): with a gluten-free diet, it has to be 100%, or you will not likely see any improvement.
So any retrospective looking at medical records for proof of a diet's effectiveness, and looking at records from a time where the diet was poorly understood, is going to be useless.
Sorry for the veer off the subject, but I figured it was something that you probably are not aware of, and I think it's important.
Back to the subject, this would be a problem, no matter what country you live in, and no matter what the insurance system is, because there are so many more needing this specific kind of help than ever before.
Here in the US, where these things have always been discussed more openly than in the UK, what is coming up more and more often is the subject of Where To Put The Autistic Adults When Their Parents Can No Longer Care For Them.
Because we haven't always had 1% of the population with an autism diagnosis--not even when you count the ones who used to be diagnosed as MR, or psychotic.
I volunteer at a residential facility for severely impaired adults. It's the only one of its kind in our metropolitan area. It does not house 1% of the adult population, for starters. More importantly, the adults in the facility are almost exclusively NOT AUTISTIC. There are a few--maybe about 10%. But most have Down Syndrome, other genetic disorders that result in severe mental restriction, or had obvious brain damage that resulted in their being in a slightly-more-than-vegetative existence (most of those are unresponsive, and unable to make purposeful movement-- in wheelchairs or worse).
This is where autistic people--no matter what their official diagnosis--would have been sent as they reached adulthood and/or as their parents became unable to care for them.
They aren't there.
If they've always been part of the population, we would know.
So no health insurance in the world is financially capable of handling this, even if they wanted to. And in the US, they DON'T want to. And the reason is $$$$$$$$$$
Edited by Taximom5 - 11/25/13 at 7:10am