Good news! Those of us who are autistic are finally starting to get more recognition as to the important part of the population that we are. This follows closely on recent revelations in the Lancet that there is a close relationship between autism, bipolar, major depression, and schizophrenia. Just as autism is now understood to be a normal part of the variability of the human condition, it is my hope that the same kind of sympathetic view of these other conditions will soon follow.
Another interesting finding in the reports referenced below is that autism seems to be associated with living longer. Older parents are able to pass along this trait via autistic offspring. This is consistent with the idea that autism represents a slower development path for the human brain, and it makes sense that that would be associated with greater longevity. Friends of mine at Harvard Medical School who are researching a possible link (or lack thereof) between autism and Alzheimer’s have as yet not been able to identify a single autistic person who has ever been known to have contracted Alzheimer’s. Of course, since there aren’t many older adults who had been diagnosed with autism, the sample so far is too small to have scientific significance; nevertheless, it is a hopeful sign.
CDC and HRSA issue report on changes in prevalence of parent-reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in school-aged children
CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and the Health Resources and Services Administration
“Changes in Prevalence of Parent-Reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-Aged Children: 2007 to 2011-2012.”
The report was co-authored by HRSA and data collection was conducted by the CDC. The data come from the National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationally representative phone survey of households with children. This survey is conducted every four years.
Main findings of the report:
- The prevalence of parent-reported ASD among children aged 6-17 years was 2 percent in 2011-2012 compared to 1.2 percent in 2007.
- The change in prevalence estimates was greatest for boys and for adolescents aged 14 to 17 years.
- Children who were first diagnosed in or after 2008 were more likely to have milder ASD than those diagnosed in or before 2007.
- Much of the increase in the prevalence estimates from 2007 to 2011-2012 for school-aged children was the result of diagnoses of children with previously unrecognized ASD.