Rate of Autism Diagnoses Rises Dramatically

Friday, March 30, 2012

Studio 360 Episode 913, Art and Autism Still image from "Autism: The Musical" (Cindy Gold/HBO)

New numbers released by Centers for Disease Control reveal that the number of children who have been diagnosed with autism has nearly doubled since 2002. According to the CDC's latest report, one in 88 children in the United States has autism or a related disorder. It is not entirely clear what the large increase in autism diagnoses is due to. Meanwhile, doctors working to update the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are considering changing the definition of "autism." Those changes could greatly reduce the number of children considered autistic.

Susan Hyman, chairperson of the Autism Subcommittee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Associate Professor at the University of Rochester; Dr. Perri Klass, pediatrician and professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University; and Benedict Carey, science writer for our partner The New York Times, take a closer look at what's behind the numbers.


Benedict Carey and Susan Hyman

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [1]

John Gilmore from Long Beach, NY

The rate for autism has bee going up exponentially for more than twenty years. Every time the new CDC numbers come out they trot out the same old excuses: "Were not sure if the rate is really going up." But then they never do the studies that could answer this question. "The rates simply reflect changes in diagnostic criteria" the last time the diagnostic criteria were changed was in 1994 when they were made more restrictive than the earlier criteria. We are in the middle of a public health catastrophe and this who are ostensibly responsible for our well being are willfully ignoring the evidence staring them in the face.

The numbers show 1 in 54 boys have a debilitating disorder, 2% of American boys, and the public health authorities and the media, including Celeste right now on air, bend over backwards to dissipate any concern that something new and awful has happened.

If this was a new strain of flu the same media outlets and public health authorities would be generating mass hysteria as we saw with avian flu and swine flu.

Mar. 30 2012 08:17 AM

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