Thursday, October 08, 2009

Clinic Notes: Autism in Adults

As I have mentioned in previous blogs the incidence of autism is rising. This is well documented by stats put out by the CDC and I see many more children in my clinic now with an autism diagnosis then I did in the past. In the last decade or so many researchers label the rise as an explosion. Well autism is a lifelong disorder and one question that has not been answered is where are the adults with autism now? And how are they functioning? Are we going to have to have massive programs to aid adults with autism when the children we are seeing now grow up? A recent study in England attempts to answer some of these questions. England's National Health Service conducted surveys on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in adults. In regard to autism, the finding of interest was how many adults with autism there were. Most were unmarried males and the frequency was 1 in 100 adults, which was in line with the stats reported for children. Furthermore, the study did not look at adults with autism living in institutions, which would have raised the incidence of adults with autism even higher. This was a small study, but if it is replicated with a larger sample it is hard to argue that an autism epidemic is taking place.

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