We Are The 1.01%

We are the 1.01%. According to the New York Times, a new report out last Thursday from the CDC " ...estimates that in 2008 one child in 88 received one of these diagnoses, known as autism spectrum disorders, by age 8, compared with about one in 110 two years earlier. The estimated rate in 2002 was about one in 155." The Times article notes that it is unclear whether this increase in diagnosed cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder has been caused by a nebulas definition of what constitutes the spectrum, greater awareness of the disorder, or some, as of yet unidentified environmental, social, or genetic factors. Changes to the DSM diagnostic manual that will take effect next year will narrow the criteria for a diagnosis and may reduce the number of children who qualify for ASD services. The PPD-NOS and Aspergers diagnoses will disappear entirely, and revised categories for other spectrum disorders will be more clearly defined in a way that the organizers of the DSM say should absorb most of the children already diagnosed. 

It is important to consider that, according to the Times piece, "boys were almost five times as likely as girls to get such a diagnosis - at a rate of one in 54, compared with one in 252 for girls. The sharpest increases appeared among Hispanic and black children, who historically have been less likely to receive an autism spectrum diagnosis than white children." If we unpack this, it means that the increase in diagnosed ASD most likely came from the rise in the traditionally under diagnosed minority communities, and that the proposed changes to the DSMV have the potential to disproportionately effect access to services for these children. This does not mean conspiracy. What it does mean is that families dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their allies must continue to educate themselves and advocate for their children. We are the 1.01%.

Aaron Weintraub, MS runs child-centered social skills groups with a focus on children and teenagers withPervasive Developmental DisorderAsperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Shyness. Strengths-based approach in a community based setting. Groups available in Tolland, Mansfield, Willimantic, Hartford, Vernon and Coventry Connecticut.