Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Clinic Notes: Is there an autism Epidemic?

In previous posts I've discussed what to do when your child is first diagnosed and how to get services for your child. In this post I would like to answer the question--Is there an autism epidemic?
Many people think so and point to data supporting a dramatic increase in the number of cases of autism. I am often asked by pediatricians and other professionals, as well as lay groups if I am seeing more cases of autism in my clinic. My answer is "no."
When I first started practicing 35 years ago ADHD was the diagnosis of the day. Every other child had ADHD and large numbers of children were being treated with stimulants in an attempt to fight the "epidemic." Now autism is the epidemic of the day. But like ADHD there is no epidemic only hype. Next Monday on my web site a recent paper will be covered in my "Autism in the News" column outlining why you should not believe there is an autism epidemic. It all has to do with changes in the diagnostic category, greater public awarness, and intentionally looking for and finding more cases. Read "Autism in the News" next Monday at http://www.aba4autism.com. Dr. Brown

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