Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Autism Surging - Bloggers Miss the Point
News of huge increases in reported incidents of autism from the UK and from Massachusetts have prompted much discussion amongst internet bloggers on the subject. Unfortunately most internet bloggers on autism tend to be neurodiversity advocates who do not want to know cause or cure when it comes to autism. Even the most balanced and courteous neurodiversity blogger, Ms Kristina Chew, of the mis-named Autism Vox blog site, tended to focus on discrediting media reports of the surge, parsing the wording and style of journalist accounts, instead of addressing the real issue of why such startling increases in reported rates of autism are occurring. It is fair to talk about changes in diagnostic criteria, and changes to the DSM-IV but the last revision of the DSM-IV occurred more than a decade ago. The doubling of reported incidents of autism refers to a doubling of incidents with the past few years - more than a decade after the DSM revision. Undoubtedly increased awareness is a factor but it is a very big and dangerous assumption to conclude that a doubling of reported incidents in a few short years is entirely due to awareness. At least without proper investigation and research.