David Kirby, whether you agree or not with him, has written on the new numbers released here in the US on autism rates. Stagliano has written a letter to Senator Dodd on the 1st of August. Both are on Huffington Post, if you know how to go looking for the authors. However, neither post has been on the living page. Stagliano's post isn't even on the autism page. Update, when I checked a couple hours later, Kirby's finally made it to the living page. Not on the front page, though. And nearly a 24 hour delay in getting Kirby loaded onto the living page. Stagliano's is not on the living page, nor on the autism page. ***It's the 14th and Kirby is GONE from the Living Page. Have any of you ever seen that happen that fast?
What's going on here? Is Huffington Post tired of autism or tired of AoA? Has Huffington decided there's no real win here, that the controversy over vaccines ultimately hurts their bottom line? if that's the case, then let someone without the reputation Kirby has discuss the new numbers. Surely there's an autism expert out there who could speak to it with some credibility behind it. Although, I could certainly see the difficulties in getting legitimate researchers to want to be anywhere near Huffington as it goes down the woo trail.
Here's another problem: Huffington doesn't even hype positive pieces on disabilities. Lee Woodward's piece disappeared off the living page fairly quickly, as well. At least it made it there in the first place.
As to the 1 in 100, see Sullivan's post at Left Brain Right Brain, Moving Toward a New Consensus Prevalence of 1% or Higher, as to why the numbers aren't that big a surprise.
Moving Toward a New Consensus Prevalence of 1% or Higher Read more: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=2740#ixzz0NyOn73Kg
Now, can someone explain to me how some of the responders, both at AoA and Huff, keep providing rates that are much higher? Many appear to be based on anecdotal evidence like a visit to a dental practice and the dentist saying the rate of autism at his practice (if my 7 year old with Asperger's, listening to me discuss this last night at the supper table can immediately, and I kid you not, say that doesn't mean the overall rate is the same).
The truth is that, yes rates appear to be increasing. This appears to be in part to better or more frequent identification, to a broadening of the spectrum and where we psychologically are labeling it as a disorder rather than a difference, and in part because the numbers are actually increasing.
Kirby's and others' argument that folks who think it is primarily a genetic disorder/difference must be crazy because the numbers are increasing are arguing from the false premise that scientists believed it to be genetic without environmental interaction. I haven't run across any scientists or researchers denying the interplay of environment and genetics.
It can also not go unnoticed that Kirby now thinks it's hep B vaccination shortly after birth that's doing it. Come on, man. At what point do you have the wisdom to just fess up that you don't have a clue as to what the possible environmental triggers are? I mean, you managed to keep the thimerosal question in there, certainly. But then, your argument falls apart, since more infants are getting the HepB than in the past, and if it is the version that has thimerosal, and you're right that rates are decreasing with the younger cohort, well, it would seem to mean that thimerosal in the HepB would actually be correlated with a reduction in autism rates. See, anybody can do this armchair bullshitting. It doesn't prove anything; it is speculation without science.
And a survey has to be taken with a grain of salt. As do medical record reviews, for that matter. How many parents went through multiple labels before getting an ASD label for their child(ren) and how many who have the child lose that label have the child's difficulty relabeled something else?
One last passing thought: people who scaremonger with increasing the rates of autism and speculating that soon everyone will have a child on the spectrum is like the argument that if we let gays marry, soon people will be marrying their animals or objects.
Absolutely, we need research into why autism rates appear to be on the rise. We need research into effective treatment modalities. And if there are in utero traumas (events, illnesses) that are contributing to more children being autistic, ways of prevention should be researched.
We need increased funding for effective, safe and reliable treatments. We need better education and training for parents, educators, therapists, and the public at large. We need better work training programs and residential living options for adults who need assistance.
We need to do a lot more for the disabled, in general. It starts with recognizing the inherent value of each person, and each person's right to a life with meaning and dignity, and to do work that has meaning and value to the person and to make his or her own decisions regarding the course of his or her life. It starts with making eye contact and acknowledging the disabled when we see them, as we would for any other person. It means reaching out with compassion and care when we see someone in need of assistance, whoever the person might be. That's a start. But just a start.