For parents of toddlers around 18 month old, few words are more disturbing than AUTISM. Unfortunately, more and more parents are hearing this word more and more often from their pediatricians. As recently as 30 years ago or less, 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. Today, that number is 1 in 166. (You read it right - one in one hundred sixty six - two full orders of magnitude!)
The obvious question that arises from this drastic increase: "Is this because more kids have autism, or are we just getting better at diagnosing it, or what?" The answer, I think, falls into the "or what" category.
As way of background, I am the parent of an autistic son, Zeke, who is now 13 years old. Obviously, I have more than a passing interest in the current state of things in the world of autism, and there are many things to keep up with:
- the search for a cure
- nutritional / medical interventions
- life after school