Friday, April 19, 2013

Autism Rising? Not According to Behavior Analyst Steve Taylor Who Proclaims That Autism Is 100% Genetic In Origin

Since my son was diagnosed with Autistic Disorder in 1998 the rates of diagnosed autism have risen dramatically from 1 in 500 to the current estimated rate of 1 in 88.  There is common acknowledgement that a substantial increase resulted from the DSM-IV changes which pushed acceptance of Aspergers as part of an autism spectrum.  Social factors such as increased awareness and availability of services under an autism label have also been cited.  Some purported autism experts  though have concluded that the dramatic autism increases are entirely attributable to diagnostic changes, increased awareness and the desirability for service reasons of an autism diagnosis. One such  autism expert is Behavior Analyst Steve Taylor who proclaims  in the Modesto Bee that "Autism isn't spreading, but the diagnosis is"

The dramatic increases have also taken place during years when genetic autism research received an overwhelming share of the autism research dollar. Calls for increased funding for environmental autism research by respected researchers like Hertz-Picciotto, Pessah, Landrigan, Birnbaum and others have not  tilted the balance dramatically away from the "its gotta be genetic mindset".  No study proving that the overwhelming increase in autism disorders is caused entirely by diagnostic change and increased social awareness has been produced.  No study producing a genetic explanation for all or even a significant number of autism disorders has been produced.  Very few environmental autism studies have been funded compared to genetic studies and yet the Steve Taylors of the expert autism community claim that there is no real increase at all.  

As they did with the refrigerator mothers theory of autism a few decades ago many of the world's autism "experts" embrace as an article of faith that autism isn't increasing.  Once again too the finger is pointed, at least in part, at parents ..... this time it is parents seeking services for their children as stated by Taylor in the  Modesto Bee:

"I'm still working with the same kind of kids, but everyone today seems to have autism. I met an area family for the first time recently and the 3-year-old I was there to help looked me in the eye and told me, "Go home." He's got autism, now.
No one can diagnose a complex disorder from a single interaction, but I'm going to spend months and maybe years working with this family to change behaviors that this rude boy would likely grow out of and, despite my best efforts, maybe make it worse.
For pure and understandable motives, parents still lobby for the diagnosis. An autism diagnosis brings more services.
The Stanislaus County Office of Education lists three pre-formal diagnostic (too young to diagnose) intensive classes of six to eight students as well as five elementary autism classes, which come with two full-time autism specialists.
A student with the same delays but not diagnosed as autistic doesn't usually get that kind of specialized support."
The only way Steve Taylor and the autism epidemic deniers could possibly be sure that the increases in autism rates are not real AT ALL is if autism disorders are not caused or contributed to by any environmental factors; that autism is entirely genetic in origin. Taylor is a true believer that autism is not increasing; that autism is 100% genetic in origin.  For those of us who lack Taylor's brilliant insights into the causes of autism we will have to wait for studies that actually provide evidence in support of his belief that autism rates are not really increasing at all.

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M.J. said...

Wait, so this guy is saying that if your kid can make eye contact and say a two word phrase then they don't have autism? That's a pretty absurd position for a trained therapist.

farmwifetwo said...

I don't think it's rising. What it is over diagnosed. The least bit quirky kid, the non-verbal kid are all autistic. I love the kids that are ADHD/ASD or Downs/ASD. Huh?? Every professional I've talked to says that's impossible.

Kids with LD's are dx'd as Dev Delay'd to push them into self-contained rooms. There's 6 of them in my kid's class that are absolutely NORMAL and one of the parents isn't happy about it when we went and saw the room for next year. Instead of teaching them, they are warehoused and pushed out of highschool at the end.

Hopefully, with the V that changes but reading up on the other dx's that have been written up in the news.... It appears the V is worse than the IV to dx anybody with anything.

Unknown said...

FW2 with all respect you can't say based on what you just said that there is NO real increase. To reach that conclusion you would have to have solid evidence that autism is caused entirely by genetics. There is no study which has reached that conclusion. The leading study to date found that only 50% of the increase could be accounted for by the changes in autism diagnosis and by factors such as you mentioned. People should not be pretending they know for certain when they do not.