The autism interview of the decade, from the perspective of this father of a severely autistic 14 year old boy seeking real answers and future directions concerning my sons Autistic Disorder, is the David Kirby interview with Dr. Tom Insel in December 2009. There are many contentious debates in discussions of autism disorders including the debate over whether the startling increases in rates of autism diagnoses over the past decade from 1 in 1000 to 1 in 500 to 1 in 110 reflects a real increase in autism or whether they are attributable entirely to the diagnostic manual changes in the early 1990's combined with increased awareness and the alleged existence of autism services motivating parents to seek autism diagnoses. Tied directly to this issue is the question of whether autism is caused entirely by genetic factors or whether environmental factors are also involved.
David Kirby's recent interview with Dr. Tom Insel, head of the IACC, and not known to be a celebrity actress, an anti-vaxxer or an hysterical, rage filled parent of a child with an autism disorder, sheds much light on these issues. I encourage everyone, including reporters and journalists with Mainstream Media outlets and anti autism cure Neurodiversity ideologues like Obama disability nominee Ari Ne'eman, to read the transcript of the Kirby interview with Dr. Insel in its entirety. Some important points made by Dr. Insel in that interview:
"So how much of the doubling or - in this case tenfold increase over a decade - how much of it is related to change in diagnosis, how much to ascertainment? It looks like about 24 percent of the
increase can be attributed to something like a change in diagnosis criteria. They are beginning to use multiple diagnoses. So that children before, who were listed simply as mentally retarded rather than autism - but they had both - are now logged in with both. But that really caps out at around 24 percent. There’s probably another piece of this, which globally could be attributed to ascertainment. But that caps out at around 16 percent, or something like that. And when you put all of that together, you are still well below explaining 50 percent of the increase. California
So what does that mean? It means that, as far as I can tell, the burden of proof is upon anybody who feels that there is NOT a real increase here in the number of kids affected."
This tells you that, you really have to take this very seriously. From everything they are looking at, this is not something that can be explained away by methodology, by diagnosis. Some piece of it can, but the whole thing can’t.
Yes. I don’t think anybody is arguing that it is 100-percent genetic. I mean, I think that there are just a lot of questions that this raises. And I don’t think in those terms, exactly, that it’s either genetic or it’s environmental. From my perspective, it’s almost always going to be both. And the only question is: How do you nail down this interaction, how do you go after it?
There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here. The problem for us has been trying to find the right way to get our hands around it, and to identify what that is most likely related to."
The acknowledgements by Dr. Insel, head of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, (1) that autism is really increasing and (2) that there is an environmental component to that increase are huge developments in our attempts to understand autism disorders and what is causing them. The assumption for over a decade has been that autism is 100% genetic and that none of the autism increase is real. Funding of autism research has reflected those twin assumptions. Now is the time to face autism reality, to start researching and understanding the interaction of genetic and environmental factors that cause and contribute to autism disorders. With the knowledge gained from understanding what causes autism disorders we will be much better able to identify treatments and cures to help those afflicted by these serious disorders.
David Kirby's December 2009 interview with IACC Director Tom Insel easily ranks as the top autism interview of the 2000-2009 decade ... in the opinion of this humble father of a son severely affected by Autistic Disorder.