Author Topic: "One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild  (Read 4274 times)

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Offline TomS

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"One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild
« on: February 08, 2007, 07:20:16 PM »
What a bunch of crap. The standards must be set so unbelievably LOW to get these types if numbers.

The DSMV-IV has, over the years, been dumbed down so much that almost everyone qualifies as mentally ill to an extent.


ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- About one in 150 American children has autism, an urgent public health concern, said U.S. health officials Thursday who reported on the largest study done so far on the troubling disorder.

The new numbers, based on 2002 data from 14 states, are higher than previously reported.

Advocates said the study provides a sad new understanding of how common autism is, and should fuel efforts to get the government to spend hundreds of millions of additional dollars for autism research and services.

"This data today shows we're going to need more early intervention services and more therapists, and we're going to need federal and state legislators to stand up for these families," said Alison Singer, spokeswoman for Autism Speaks, the nation's largest organization advocating more services for autistic children.

The study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated an average autism rate 6.6 per 1,000. That compares with last year's estimated rate of 5.5 in 1,000.

The research involved an intense review of medical and school records for children in all or part of 14 states and gives the clearest picture yet of how common autism is in some parts of the country, CDC officials said.

However, those states are not demographically representative of the nation as a whole, so officials cautioned against using the results as a national average. The study doesn't include some of the most populous states including California, Texas and Florida.

No conclusions on a trend
Also, the study does not answer whether autism is increasing -- a controversial topic, driven in part by the contention by some parents and advocates that autism is linked to a vaccine preservative. The best scientific studies have not borne out that claim.

"We can't make conclusions about trends yet," because the study's database is too new, said Catherine Rice, a CDC behavioral scientist who was the study's lead author.

Autism is a complex disorder usually not diagnosed in children until after age 3. It is characterized by a range of behaviors, including difficulty in expressing needs and inability to socialize. The cause is not known.

Scientists have been revising how common they think the disorder is. Past estimates from smaller studies have ranged from 1 out of every 10,000 children to nearly 1 in 100.

Last year's estimate of 5.5 out of every 1,000 U.S. children was based on national surveys of tens of thousands of families with school-age kids. That fit into a prevalence range found in other recent studies.

The CDC also has been developing an alternate way of measuring autism prevalence, building a network of university and state health departments for ongoing surveillance of autism and developmental disabilities. The study released Thursday is one of the first scientific papers to come out of that effort.

"This is a more accurate rate because of the methods they used," said Dr. Eric Hollander, an autism expert at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The study involved 2002 data from parts or all of 14 states -- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Researchers looked specifically at children who were 8 years old that year. They said most children with autism are identified for medical or educational services by that age.

The researchers checked health records in each area and school records when they were made available, looking for children who met diagnostic criteria for autism. They used those numbers to calculate a prevalence rate for each study area.

The rates varied from 3.3 per 1,000 in the study site in Alabama, which was made up of the state's 32 northernmost counties, to 10.6 in the site in New Jersey, which involved four counties, including metropolitan Newark.

Researchers say they don't know why the rate was so high in New Jersey. They think the Alabama rate was low at least partly because researchers had limited access to special education records there.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 07:21:18 PM by TomS »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: "One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2007, 10:26:51 PM »
Well, hey, you know that the media always takes things and runs with it without thinking, dumbs it down, or distorts it to say what they want it to say. That must be what they teach the in journalism classes: say what you want the story to be about in the first few paragraphs, then add alternative views later on just so you can claim to be unbiased. Bah. However, I have to say, while I don't like distortions, if it makes people think that'd be a small good. I'd say that 99% or more of people are, to one extent or another, incapable of developing a mature theory of mind. Or put another way, most people (me included) are very closed minded, and to a large extent unable to understand, let alone sympathise, with the beliefs and issues that other people have. I would say that almost all of us are mentally ill, it's just that when everyone is ill, the bar for being healthy is not quite as high. I think of it this way, I hope beyond hope that a few centuries from now people will look back on this time period and think "Geez, were they really that bad? Thank goodness we've come as far as we have in healing the psychological and intellectual chasms that men--and societies--constantly create." Come on Tom, we're all mentally ill, some are just better at hiding their peculiarities, some less so. ;)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 10:27:27 PM by Asteriktos »
get rekt, nerd

Offline observer

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Re: "One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2007, 02:48:20 PM »
I am not mentally ill.  And I refuse to take my - I mean any medication.

Seriously - the drug companies (not for autism) and the med schools run their careers on a consumer market gone mad.  A big threat to the multi-billion dollar drug industry is the new legislation in Belgium where teenagers can end their 'meaningless' lives with state-assisted execution or what they now call euthanasia.
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Offline Schultz

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Re: "One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2007, 03:16:02 PM »
The article only passingly mentions that autism is really a wide array of associated behaviors and conditions.

When most people think of "autism", they think of only the most severe cases.

I grew up around children with autism.  My sister worked in a group home after college and I visited her alot.  Most of the kids there had "full blown" autism, but I was exposed early on to very slight cases.  Some kids just could not handle change from a routine; they would break down and find it exceptionally difficult to even start again.  They couldn't articulate why they were feeling that way or what they were feeling at all, really.

This is different from being averse to change or just not liking it.  Very slight cases of autism can include a set routine (different from OCD, although some researchers believe OCD and autism may be related), extreme introversion, a deficient ability to communicate and increased frustration (which often manifests as a lack of patience).  It's not just one thing, though.  It's a combination of a number of behaviors.

The problem with articles liek this is that uninformed parents are going to end up having their kids diagnosed slightly autistic and then use the diagnosis to explain antisocial behavior away.  That is what is wrong here.  I know way too many people who have autism and none of them (nor their parents, thank God) use their illness as an excuse for bad behavior.  It's a reason, but not an excuse.

The problem is not the DSM-IV, but the application.  Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are too free with using it to diagnose correctable behavior as a mental illness.  Some of their gusto comes from fear of malpractice suits, but alot of it comes from bad training, I think.

It's not the statistic that's the lie, it's the future application of the statistic that's scary.
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Offline Keble

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Re: "One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2007, 04:54:03 PM »
Unless they add in Asperger's and everything else in the autistic spectrum, there's no way that 1 in 150 is reasonable. I know one kid who's autistic; I know at least three people with AS (and probably more-- the computer industry is full of them).

To put some perspective on this: the incidence for Down's is on the order of 1 in a 1000. So they have to be counting a lot of people who don't have anything noticeably wrong with them to get an incidence for autism that's seven times greater.

Offline Schultz

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Re: "One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2007, 05:22:34 PM »
From what I understand about the report (I haven't read it yet myself), they do include AS and other autism-related illnesses in the statistic.

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Offline calligraphqueen

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Re: "One in 150 American children has autism" - Statistics Gone Wild
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2007, 08:01:30 PM »

There are hundreds of things in the "autistic spectrum" which is a large dumping ground for behaviors that range all over the place.  My daughter's rare genetic neurdevelopmental issues (Rett) are in there along with really mild temporary delays in development.

That is why the numbers have gone up so badly, I asked.  There are so many more conditions placed in the spectrum, and 1 in 150 children is affected in some way-even if only temporarily.  When I read ingredient lists on food (not for fasting, for my dd) I can understand why there is something wrong.  Our food, our water, chemicalization of the simplest items, who knows what is causing it?  But it's very real in a lot of people's lives.  Mine included.  and it sucks

« Last Edit: February 12, 2007, 08:02:44 PM by calligraphqueen »