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Saturday, June 14, 2014

National Autism Awareness Month and Search Trends

At The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Elizabeth A. DeVilbiss, Brian K. Lee have a brief report titled, "Trends in U.S. National Autism Awareness from 2004 to 2014: The Impact of National Autism Awareness Month."  They find increases in Google search popularity for autism every April from 2004 to 2014, except April 2005.  From the article:
The peaks in autism interest every April are likely the result of the designation of April as National Autism Awareness Month in the 1970s. The largest overall peak in autism interest in April 2008 could be the result of the December 2007 designation of April 1st as World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations general assembly. The largest monthly increase in public interest took place in September 2007, which corresponded to a September 18, 2007 segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show featuring celebrities Jenny McCarthy and Holly Robinson Peete in regards to their affected sons (The Oprah Winfrey Show, 2007). The additional peak took place in February 2005, corresponding to a 10-part series on autism featured on The Today Show February 21–25, 2005 (The Today Show 2005). The increases observed in the fall (for autism andADHD, andAsperger’s to a lesser extent) may be due to a number of seasonal factors. For example, fall is the time of year in which children are reporting back to school, and teachers may be more likely to notice differences in behavior at this time, following a summer break, as compared to the remainder of the school year.