Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fighting Autism

It is not often that I run across a useful autism site on the internet but I was pleasantly surprised to 'Stumble Upon' the Fighting Autism site which provides information concerning autism statistics, incidence and prevalence. The site features some handy tools such as prevalence maps, graphs, and reports and an autism clock an image of which I have copied on to my side panel. The information is provided for dissemination and visitors are free to use the maps and graphs and publish same to their own sites.

The graph feature is particularly interesting. The site authors do not publish the data for adult autistic persons over 22 because they do not consider the available information reliable.

Fighting Autism is a nonprofit organization based in Pennsylvania with a mission:

To improve the quality of life for children with autism through research, education, advocacy and treatment.

Research. Fostering scientific research to understand the underlying biological conditions of autism spectrum disorders.

Education and Advocacy. Educating parents, scientists and healthcare professionals about autism treatment strategies through conferences, seminars and community fundraising events.

Treatment. Creating a world-class autism treatment center in the greater Pittsburgh area encompassing biological and opportunities to participate in clinical research studies.

The Fighting Autism organization itself does not appear to have been active in organizing conferences since 2005 and at that time appeared to be focussed on dietary, gut brain information and ..... Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Regardless of Dr. Wakefield's current predicament or the generally low acceptance of his theories in the scientific community the statistical information tools provided on the Fighting Autism site are interesting.


Anonymous said...

And the data before 22 is reliable? What is the graph supposed to tell us?

You do realize the graph is not of the total number of autistic students, right? It's the total number of persons classified as autistic by IDEA. That's an important difference.

Unknown said...


You asked a number of questions. The authors of the graph obviously felt it was reliable for ages 3-22. The data source was IDEA and CDC and indicates number of autistic students as measured by those organizations and shows a dramatic rise in number of cases of autistic students over the 11 year period from 92-03, approximately 800% increase.

Anonymous said...

As I said, it shows an important rise in the number of students classified as autistic. It does not tell us much about the total number of autistic students. There is no way to know the total number, actually, because no one went to the schools to screen the whole population for ASDs. The graph can only serve to give us an approximate lower bound of autism cases. And it just so happens that in the US, IDEA is still trailing the consensus prevalence considerably, at 25 in 10,000 as I recall.

The total population of all disabled children in IDEA hasn't changed that much, BTW.

Unknown said...

joseph said "As I said, it shows an important rise in the number of students classified as autistic."

Yes it does, 800% is a very important rise in the number of students classified as autistic. Some of that rise may be a result of changing classifications, awareness and diagnosis standards. Some it may be due to environmental considerations. With the current explosion in autism research we should know more in the years to come.

Anonymous said...

that is a great piece of info for the autistic students