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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Effects of Awareness

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the CDC study found an autism prevalence in Utah of 1 in 47.
The recent study by the CDC focused on samples from 14 areas, including 2,123 children from a Wasatch Front community. Researchers examined medical records for 8-year-olds and, where they had access, school records.
The results were intended to be a snapshot, not statewide or nationwide judgments, said epidemiologist Jon Baio, the study’s lead author.
Differing rates may be explained in part by what records were available. In the Alabama area found to have the lowest prevalence — 1 in 210 — researchers couldn’t access school records. And poverty can affect whether a family seeks advice from a doctor about a child’s behavior.
"You might really rely on those educational evaluations and not have the resources to go to a medical clinic," said Laura Klinger, director of the TEACCH autism program at the University of North Carolina.
"I hesitate to say it’s a positive thing that so many children were identified in Utah," said Baio, the CDC researcher. "But in some ways it does reflect that children in that community have better access to programs, services, to resources that are serving children with autism."
At Salon, Thomas Rogers interview Temple Grandin:
 On the other hand, this newly expanded number may also make a lot of parents of kids with autism feel much less alone.
I think that’s really important. When I was young my mother was totally alone. It would have definitely made a lot of difference. She would have had other parents to talk to in a support group and none of that existed in the ’50s.
Nevertheless, while people have been talking a tremendous amount about autism and Asperger’s in recent years, you suggest that’s not been entirely productive for children with autism.
To a certain extent it’s a good thing. On the other hand, you get to the smart kids who could go have successful careers in Silicon Valley getting held back by labels. One kid goes to Silicon Valley, the other stays home to play video games, and they’re the same geek. I visit people in [autism] meetings, and a 9-year-old will come up and want to talk about his autism. I’d rather talk about his science project. You get fixated on your favorite thing as a kid, and now kids are getting fixated on autism instead of dogs or medieval knights. I’d rather get them to fixate on that something that could give them a career.