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Autism History And Statistics

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The Autistic Spectrum

FUNDING RESEARCH
 
In the late 1990s The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded just $5 million in Autism Research. Today, the National Institutes of Health funds allocation:
          o $29 billion Total NIH funding
          o $5 billion Funding of relevant NIH departments: Child Health, Mental Health, Environmental Health, Neurological Disorders
          o LESS THAN $100 million* Portion of the $5 billion allocation that directly or indirectly impacts autism research. *This represents 0.3% of total NIH funding.
          o MUCH MORE FUNDING is needed.
* HOW DOES FUNDING FOR AUTISM COMPARE TO OTHER CHILDHOOD DISORDERS & DISEASES?
          o Leukemia 1 in 25,000 Funding: $300 million
          o Muscular Dystrophy 1 in 20,000 Funding: $160 million
          o Cystic Fibrosis 1 in 5,000 Funding: $75 million
          o Juvenile Diabetes 1 in 500 Funding: $140 million
          o Autism 1 in 150 Funding: $15 million
(Dollar amounts reflect approximate annual funds raised by major private advocacy groups.)
Note: it is important to note that there is no suggestion to place an importance on one disease over another. This funding information above is only to demonstrate the disparity of funding towards autism.
 
 



Autism Through Ages Baffles Science
 
By Robert Williams Jr., June 12, 2000 at Health24 News
 
For years past people with autism were placed in institutions all over the world. Autism is not a modern problem, even though it has only recently gained vast recognition. It is difficult to discuss the history of autism treatment without paying particular attention to the history of "autism" as a concept and the ways in which autism has been conceptualized and theorized about over the past 100 years.
 
The ways in which we understand and think about autism have directly and indirectly formed our conceptual responses to autism over the years. The very concept of "treatment" carries with it many presumptions about the nature of autism, its origins and its potential outcomes. The history of autism is not a linear one, and regardless of the past or present debates over treatment, origin or outcome, as more and more studies and research are conducted the greater the understanding of autism will become.
 
Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler first introduced the term autism in 1911. Autism and autistic stem from the Greek word "autos," meaning self. The term autism originally referred to a basic disturbance in schizophrenia, in short, an extreme withdrawal of oneself from the fabric of social life, but not excluding oneself.
 
Bleuler also coined the term ambivalence to designate one of the major symptoms of schizophrenia, the others being autism, disturbances of effect (emotion) and association (thought disorders). Ambivalence is a coexistence of two opposing drives, desires, feelings or emotions toward the same person, object or goal. The ambivalent person may be unaware of either of the opposing wishes. Bleuler felt that there were normal instances of ambivalence--such as the feeling, after performing an action, that it would have been better to have done the opposite; but the normal person, unlike the schizophrenic, is not prevented by these opposing impulses from deciding and then acting. Bleuler's schizophrenia differs in terms from the Freudian theories, in which ambivalence was described as feelings of love and hate toward the same person. (E.L. Horwitz, "Madness, Magic, and Medicine: The Treatment and Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill." [Lippincott, 1977])
 
In the early 1900s, psychologist Carl Gustav Jung introduced the well-known personality types, extroverts and introverts, further broadening Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytical approach. However, this approach appears to have indirectly classified the autistic person as a schizophrenic introvert. Jung saw the activity of the extrovert directed toward the external world and that of the introvert directed inward upon him- or herself. Jung, who removed from the term the sexual character ascribed to it by Freud, called this general activity or drives of the individual the libido. The extrovert is characteristically the active person who is most content when surrounded by people; carried to the neurotic extreme, such behavior appears to constitute an irrational flight into society, where the extrovert's feelings are acted out.
 
The introvert, on the other hand, is normally a contemplative individual who enjoys solitude and the inner lifeof ideas and the imagination. Severe introversion was believed to be characteristic of autism and some forms of schizophrenia. (C.G. Jung, "Psychological Types." [tr. 1923, repr. 1970]) Jung did not suggest strict classification of individuals as extroverted or introverted, since each person has tendencies in both directions, although one direction generally predominates. Jung theorized a patient could achieve a state of individuation, or wholeness of self. (E.H. Ackernecht, "A Short History of Psychiatry." [Hafner, 2d ed., rev., 1970])
 
In 1944, American Bruno Bettelheim directed the Chicago-based Ortho-genic School for children with emotional problems, placing special emphasis on the treatment of autism. Bettelheim believed that autistic children had been raised in unstimulating environments during the first few years of their lives, when language and motor skills develop. He saw parents unresponsive to their child as an underlying cause of autistic behavior. (L. Wing, ed., "Aspects of Autism." [1988]) Although subsequent studies of the parents of autistic children have discredited Bettelheim's psychological explanation, his ideology carried into the general populace for generations to follow, germinating red herring terms like "refrigerator mother."
 
The highly complex treatment of childhood autism began with the early-childhood development pioneers Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, who each published accounts of this disorder. Kanner published his report in 1943 while at Johns Hopkins. He conducted a case study of 11 children who appeared to share a number of common characteristics that he suggested formed a "unique 'syndrome' not heretofore reported." He titled the article, "Autistic disturbances of affective contact," and characterized the children as possessing, from the very beginning of life, what he called an "extreme autistic aloneness." The following year, Asperger published "Autistic psychopathy in childhood." The article presented a case study of several children whom he described as examples of "a particularly interesting and highly recognizable type of child." Both Kanner and Asperger believed that the children suffered from a fundamental disturbance that gave rise to highly characteristic problems.
 
They both chose the word autism, a term coined by Bleuler in reference to the aloneness experienced by schizophrenic patients, in order to characterize the nature of the underlying disturbance. The common feature of this disturbance was that the children seemed unable to entertain normal relationships with people.
 
In contrast to Bleuler's schizophrenia, the disturbance observed by Kanner and Asperger appeared to have been there from birth. Kanner's paper has become the most quoted, while Asperger's paper, written in German during World War II, was largely ignored. The belief has grown that Asperger described quite a different type of child, not to be confused with the one Kanner described.
 
Asperger's definition of autism or, as he called it, "autistic psychopathy," is far wider than Kanner's, including cases that showed severe organic damage and those that shaded into normality. In 1943 and 1944, "autistic disturbances" and "autistic psychopathy" became known as syndromes. (U. Frith, "Autism: Explaining the Enigma." [1989]) Asperger's syndrome as defined today is clearly not what Asperger intended, but having this special category has proved clinically useful.
 
Kanner's syndrome is often used to indicate the child with a constellation of classic, "nuclear" features, resembling in astonishing detail the features that Kanner identified in his first, inspired description. Again, the category is clinically useful since it communicates a prototypical pattern. From the 1980s through the early 1990s, the cause, prognosis, and treatment of autism were vigorously under study. Research suggested that a genetic defect caused the disorder, which was presumed to be some form of autoimmune disease or degenerative disease of nerve cells in the brain.The preferred treatment for the autistic child was special education, stressing learning in small increments, and a strict behavioral control of the child.
 
In general, about half of the children with autism were considered mute; those who remained mute through age 5 were given a poor prognosis for recovery. The children with autism who spoke were given a prognosis that they would fare better, and possibly even recover. (Autism, ENCARTA'95; Computer program; [1995]) Since 1911, the understanding of autism has grown to such a degree that we know there is not yet a cure.
 
However, researchers all across the nation are working diligently to produce more information on autism, and possibly a cure. "Cure" means "restoration of health; recovery from disease." To "recover" means "to regain a normal or usual condition, as of health." While "cure" and "recovery" prognoses for autism might have been the expectation of 80s and early 90s, they do not represent expectations today.
 
Today we know that with highly structured and appropriate interventions the behaviors of a child or adult with autism may change to the point where he or she may appear to no longer have autism to the untrained person. However, while they have changed, they still have the autism.
 
In 1995-1996, only 5.6 million children (ages 0 to 21), or about 12 percent of public school children, were enrolled in special education programs. The number of students participating in federal programs for children with disabilities has increased at a faster rate than the total public school enrollment.
 
Between 1977 and 1995 alone, the number of students involved in federal programs for children with disabilities increased 47 percent, while the total public school enrollment decreased by 2 percent. These counts are based on reports from the 50 states and submitted to Congress to aid in the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, "Digest of Education Statistics," 1997.
 
It is also noted in this study that as early as 1976, as new types of disability categories began to emerge (specific learning disabilities, serious emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, other health impairments, autism, preschool disabled), the percentages of federal programs for students with mental retardation disability began to lower.
 
It is evident that autism as a diagnosis was non-existent prior to the early 1900s, and the people who had what we call autism today were diagnosed with some other disorder. It was not until the mid 1900s that people with autism were no longer institutionalized for their problem. Despite the persistence of old theories, no factors in the psychological environment of a child or adult have been shown to cause autism. There is no proof that autism is due to bad parenting, neglect, abuse or tragedy.
 
Children with autism are not unruly youngsters who choose not to behave. Professionals have long since disproved all of these "causes" and theories. Unfortunately, the general understanding of the word autism hasn't kept up with the newer medical research shared today. It is proven that people with autism can lead happy and productive lives when appropriate supports and therapies are provided.
 






When 1 in 150 is really 1 in 67

By Raymond W. Gallup & F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP

http://www.vaproject.org/yazbak/1-in-150-is-really-1-in-67-20071005.htm

On February 8, 2007 the CDC released New Data on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) from Multiple Communities in the United States.” (1)

Since then, most people and the press have been under the impression that in the United States, the “new” CDC- reported ASD prevalence rate of 1 in 150 was a recent discovery that was current for 2007 when indeed it was not at all.  The study did not document a prevalence of 1 in 150 among children born now or five years ago.  The study revealed that among U.S. children born in 1994, thirteen years ago, 1 in 150 on average had a spectral disorder.

According to the official press release:   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported findings today from the first and largest summary of prevalence data from multiple U.S. communities participating in an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) surveillance project.  The results showed an average of 6.7 children out of 1,000 had an ASD in the six communities assessed in 2000, and an average of 6.6 children out of 1,000 having an ASD in the 14 communities included in the 2002 study.  All children in the studies were eight years old because previous research has shown that most children with an ASD have been identified by this age for services.”

The U.S. Department of Education has recently released the official figures for autism/ASD by age and state for school year 2006-2007, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s requirement that comprehensive annual reports be published and presented to the United States Congress.

Children born in 1994 and who according to the 2002 CDC study had an ASD prevalence of  around 1 in 150, probably started first grade in the fall of 2000.

In Table I, we compared by state, the number of 6 year-old children with Autism/ASD in U.S. schools in 2000-2001 with those similarly diagnosed children of the same age who attended school in 2006-2007.  The percent increase in that particular group since the CDC’s acclaimed 1 in 150 prevalence figures is listed by state in the right column.

All states, except Alaska and Oklahoma had increased first grade enrollment of children with spectral disorders.  Thirty five (35) states more than doubled their load and consequently their financial needs and in New Mexico, the number of ASD students quadrupled between 2000 and 2006.  The District of Columbia did not report.

STATE

2000-2001

2006-2007

% increase

Alabama

47

146

211

Alaska

30

28

-6

Arizona

151

454

201

Arkansas

95

106

12

California

1,539

3,465

125

Colorado

55

156

184

Connecticut

146

343

135

Delaware

22

56

155

District of Columbia

11

x

0

Florida

481

1,080

125

Georgia

273

551

102

Hawaii

42

76

81

Idaho

28

62

121

Illinois

499

945

89

Indiana

254

576

127

Iowa

33

56

70

Kansas

84

141

68

Kentucky

96

217

126

Louisiana

102

173

70

Maine

57

145

154

Maryland

232

414

78

Massachusetts

29

604

108

Michigan

415

735

77

Minnesota

240

695

190

Mississippi

31

64

106

Missouri

198

410

107

Montana

24

35

46

Nebraska

32

87

172

Nevada

59

214

263

New Hampshire

28

70

150

New Jersey

470

1,002

113

New Mexico

14

63

350

New York

664

1,306

97

North Carolina

273

450

65

North Dakota

12

20

67

Ohio

306

798

161

Oklahoma

67

43

-36

Oregon

213

452

112

Pennsylvania

427

1,065

149

Puerto Rico

68

167

146

Rhode Island

34

89

162

South Carolina

88

216

145

South Dakota

23

47

104

Tennessee

83

251

202

Texas

738

1,629

121

Utah

79

167

111

Vermont

12

21

75

Virginia

198

484

144

Washington

122

323

165

West Virginia

49

90

84

Wisconsin

201

461

129

Wyoming

9

27

200

Total

9,483

21,275

124


Table I
Children aged 6 with autism served by IDEA
Source: U.S. Department of Education

In February 2007, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, MD, MPH chief of the CDC's autism program was quoted as saying (1):

  “It is extremely difficult to accurately estimate the number of children who have an ASD”
  “Medical records often do not provide such information, and identification is often made by schools or education specialists”
  “We don't know the causes of ASDs, but we do know that if we can identify autism and other developmental problems in children early, they can begin receiving appropriate interventions sooner”

Parents of children with autism would probably agree with Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp’s first two points and most of them would gladly share their thoughts and ideas about the causes of autism, if she cared to listen.

In the same press release (1) CDC Director Gerberding was quoted as saying: Our estimates are becoming better and more consistent, though we can't yet tell if there is a true increase in ASDs or if the changes are the result of our better studies.

No one asked Dr. Gerberding why, when many at the CDC knew that their own 2002 study yielded a prevalence of 1 in 150 among eight-year old children, the CDC approved, distributed and advertised an “Autism A.L.A.R.M” (2) in January 2004 that proclaimed that “1 in 166 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.”

Dr. Gerberding did not volunteer and it appears that no one thought of asking her why the CDC kept the results of the 2000 and 2002 studies secret for so long or if a third CDC study had been done in 2004 that was still “Top Secret” for undisclosed reasons.

In any case, if according to the CDC, the ASD prevalence rate was 1 in 150 on average among children born in 1994 and if the number of 6 year-old children with ASD known to the U.S. Department of Education indeed increased by 124% nationwide over the last six school years, then it is likely that among children born in 2000 who are now registered in U.S. schools, the prevalence rate of autistic spectral disorders is around 1 in 67, on average.  Now that would be a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions.

Since the CDC 2002 study results were released in early 2007, no one in authority has bothered to correct the false impression that the “new” prevalence was current.  Every day tens of newspaper articles and news items discuss the alarming increase in autism “that has now reached 1 in 150” and promptly reassure people that it is not related to vaccines and a mercury preservative.  It will be interesting to see when the head of the CDC’s autism program will reveal to the Nation that the prevalence of autism and other spectral disorders is really more than double that estimate.

In Table II, we have compared the number of 6-21 year-old students with ASD who attended U.S. schools in the different states, the District of Columbia (DC) and Puerto Rico in school years 1992-1993 and 2006-2007.

STATE

1992-1993

2006-2007

% increase

Alabama

68

2,178

3,103

Alaska

8

454

5,575

Arizona

199

4,001

1,911

Arkansas

30

1,581

5,170

California

1,605

31,077

1,836

Colorado

14

1,642

11,629

Connecticut

164

3,361

1,949

Delaware

15

576

3,740

District of Columbia

0

219

0

Florida

582

9,101

1,464

Georgia

262

6,815

2,501

Hawaii

52

859

1,552

Idaho

39

993

2,446

Illinois

5

9,398

187,860

Indiana

273

7,391

2,607

Iowa

67

1,102

1,545

Kansas

74

1,510

1,941

Kentucky

38

2,068

5,342

Louisiana

409

1,964

380

Maine

37

1,384

3,641

Maryland

28

5,130

18,221

Massachusetts

493

5,966

1,110

Michigan

288

9,723

3,276

Minnesota

296

8,613

2,810

Mississippi

0

880

0

Missouri

336

4,381

1,204

Montana

20

314

1,470

Nebraska

4

1,023

25,475

Nevada

5

1,638

32,660

New Hampshire

0

922

0

New Jersey

446

7,706

1,628

New Mexico

16

612

3,725

New York

1,648

13,951

747

North Carolina

786

6,462

722

North Dakota

9

335

3,622

Ohio

22

9,059

41,077

Oklahoma

31

1,598

5,055

Oregon

37

5,459

14,654

Pennsylvania

346

9,865

2,751

Puerto Rico

266

1,070

302

Rhode Island

19

1,018

5,258

South Carolina

141

1,977

1,302

South Dakota

36

477

1,225

Tennessee

304

2,881

848

Texas

1,444

16,801

1,064

Utah

105

1,959

1,766

Vermont

6

328

5,367

Virginia

539

5,813

978

Washington

476

4,677

883

West Virginia

101

782

674

Wisconsin

18

5,042

27,911

Wyoming

15

279

1,760

Total

12,222

224,415

1,736


Table II
Children aged 6-21 with autism served by IDEA
Source: U.S. Department of Education

There were 193,481 students with ASD, age 6 -21, registered in school year 2005-2006.  The 224,415 students in the same category in school year 2006-2007 reflect a 16% increase over 1 year.  

The U.S. Department of Education started providing enrollment statistics on pre-school children age 3-5 in 2000.  In Table III we compare those original statistics with the recent figures for school year 2006-2007.

STATE

2000-2001

2006-2007

% increase

Alabama

84

195

132

Alaska

27

x

0

Arizona

94

364

287

Arkansas

95

195

105

California

3,422

8,521

149

Colorado

53

249

370

Connecticut

152

453

198

Delaware

62

138

123

District of Columbia

16

60

275

Florida

847

1,799

112

Georgia

272

635

133

Hawaii

88

159

81

Idaho

28

78

179

Illinois

670

1,221

82

Indiana

456

798

75

Iowa

128

90

-30

Kansas

87

169

94

Kentucky

168

299

78

Louisiana

121

318

163

Maine

150

376

151

Maryland

371

606

63

Massachusetts

231

1,579

584

Michigan

631

1,272

102

Minnesota

345

1,241

260

Mississippi

34

96

182

Missouri

134

298

122

Montana

40

58

45

Nebraska

37

161

335

Nevada

89

497

458

New Hampshire

55

138

151

New Jersey

397

831

109

New Mexico

6

116

1,833

New York

2,244

1,520

-32

North Carolina

261

903

246

North Dakota

17

40

135

Ohio

326

410

26

Oklahoma

9

65

622

Oregon

429

848

98

Pennsylvania

594

2,458

314

Puerto Rico

147

188

28

Rhode Island

48

130

171

South Carolina

121

392

224

South Dakota

35

89

154

Tennessee

153

481

214

Texas

1,108

2,443

120

Utah

58

247

326

Vermont

14

58

314

Virginia

222

581

162

Washington

64

514

703

West Virginia

14

38

171

Wisconsin

410

593

45

Wyoming

21

35

67

Total

15,685

35,043

123


Table III
Children aged 3-5 with autism served by IDEA
Source: U.S. Department of Education

Here again, the number of children with Autism/ASD more than doubled in six years.  Alaska did not report and the number of affected children decreased in Iowa and New York by 30 and 32% respectively.  In all other states and in DC, the number of 3 to 5 year-old children with ASD increased significantly over the last six years with thirty seven states reporting increases of over 100%.  New Mexico, Washington State and Massachusetts had the highest increases: 1833%, 703% and 584% respectively.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders clearly outlines the required criteria for the diagnosis of autism and autistic disorders.  The manual’s 4th and last revision was introduced in 1994.  Since then, the diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV have not changed in any way.  There have been incessant claims that the increasing prevalence of ASD is only due to the less stringent “newer” diagnostic criteria.  We disagree and we have shown that indeed DSM-IV criteria are more numerous and specific. (3)

In any case, it is hard to believe that anyone would even think that in this day and age, school districts would be willing to pay thousands of dollars to provide specialized remedial services to children and adolescents who do not have a spectral disorder and distinct special needs.  More ludicrous is the idea that these services would be perpetuated without a convincing reason year after year. 

Table IV lists the number of students aged 6 to 21 who were registered in U.S. schools since DSM-IV and the yearly increases since then.

School Year

Students

Increase

1994-95

22,780

 

1995-96

28,813

6,033

1996-97

34,082

5,269

1997-98

42,487

8,405

1998-99

53,561

11,074

1999-00

65,391

11,830

2000-01

78,717

13,326

2001-02

97,847

19,130

2002-03

118,603

20,756

2003-04

140,920

22,317

2004-05

166,302

25,382

2005-06

193,481

27,179

2006-07

224,415

30,934


Table IV
Yearly increase: Children 6-21 with autism
Source: U.S. Department of Education

In 1994, the population of the United States was estimated at 260,204,000.  It increased by 14.7% to 298,444,215 in 2006.  During the same period, the number of students aged 6-21 with autistic spectral disorders known to the U.S. Department of Education increased by 885% from 22,780 to 224,415.

Table V lists the yearly increases in the number of children who are 3 to 5 years old and who carry the diagnosis of autism or ASD.

School Year

Students

Increase

2000-01

15,581

 

2001-02

17,032

1,451

2002-03

19,017

1,985

2003-04

22,724

3,707

2004-05

25,902

3,178

2005-06

30,276

4,374

2006-07

35,043

4,767


Table V
Yearly increase: Children 3-5 with autism
Source: U.S. Department of Education

This 125% increase in children 3 to 5 years old in 6 years is 20 times greater than the percent increase in the US population since the 2000 census when it was 281,421,906.

The following graph illustrates the increase in the number of children with autism and ASD during the last 15 years, in fact since autism was listed as a separate category by the U.S. Department of Education.

<!--[endif]-->

Increase over the last 15 years
Children with Autism / ASD age 6-21 in U.S. Schools
Source: U.S. Department of Education


We are fully aware that many do not believe the statistics that are collected yearly by the U.S. Department of Education on which we have based our reviews (and concerns) since 1999.  We respect their right to do so.

We believe that the alarming trend that we have described must be halted and reversed before another generation of children is lost and thousands more families are destroyed.

Shame on them who have chosen to close their eyes, their ears and their minds to this tragic and serious problem!

References

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/2007/r070208.htm
  2. http://www.medicalhomeinfo.org/health/Autism%20downloads/AutismAlarm.pdf
  3. Yazbak FE. Autism in the United States: A Perspective. J. Am Phys Surg 2003; 8(4) 103-108 http://www.jpands.org/vol8no4/yazbak.pdf

Source url:  http://www.whale.to/v/yazbak44.html

 

 

Why hasn't this information been updated since December 2007? "In January 2008, the Department began transitioning its CDER database to a revised instrument with more current diagnostic standards and updated evaluation questions. This transition is taking place in phases with the full transition expected to be completed in 2011. As a result of this transition, no new CDER information will be released until Fall 2008." (As of December 2008, this information has not yet been released.)