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Autism In America

I have a grandchild on the spectrum. He is 8 years old. When he was born the statistics were 1 in every 151 children, especially boys were born with this. In the last few days I heard that it is now 1 in every 91 children. This statistic is very alarming to me. We once thought maybe the immunizations were a factor but that has currently been ruled out as not having any substantial evidence to support it.  Now in my grandsons case, he was born with it. Is this only in America or is this problem worldwide and what are your theories as to its origin.
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1035252 tn?1427227833
I personally think it's genetic. Aside from the fact that significantly more boys have it than girls, I have to break down my family history with autism for my theory to make sense though:

My mom is one of 12 children
9 girls
3 boys

one set of twins among the girls.
both twins have two children each:
Twin A has two boys
Twin B has a boy and a girl

Both twins' eldest sons have autism. (i.e. Twin A's eldest son and Twin B's only/eldest son).

Now for ME this seems like a case study in genetic proof for autism, and I know that they're being studied right now in Florida and Texas by their respective childrens' specialists.

When I found out a few weeks ago that I'm expecting a boy in July, I was offered what's called a "Fragile X" test, which apparently looks for a gene prevalent in the code of mothers with autistic sons.

So this leads me to believe that they're leaning towards genetics although they don't have enough proof yet, but I would say that it's a more recent mutation in that it's increasing...so a family with no prior autistic children might contain the mutation but it might not have emerged/mutated significantly until recently.

I believe the statistic for 1 out of 91 refers to children diagnosed as being on the spectrum, not as being fully autistic, but I'm not sure, and the spectrum is VERY broad. I dated a guy who didn't know he was on the spectrum until college, but once he told me a lot of behavioral things made sense.

But another thing to remember about the increased in diagnoses... 40-50 years ago, autistic children were diagnosed as retarded. so now that we're moving forward and recognizing it as a completely different affliction, of course the numbers of recognized cases are going up because those who would previously have been labeled retarded are being properly categorized (and treated accordingly).
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Avatar universal
You sound wise for your years. Are you lying about your age? lol
Yes this is true that used to be you were considered retarded or not. Now we have add, adhd, odd and the list goes on. But I am still concerned about the stats, that are continuing to get worse. I dont know if people are being misdiagnosed or it has become a popular money making thing for our professionals. I am concerned as well as to the number of children being medicated at a very young age for these conditions. It almost seems like another way for the drug companies to make more money by attacking the youngest generation. To me that is scarey, but then I am old and ancient too. Just thinking out loud again. lol
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1035252 tn?1427227833
No I think you're right...there's definitely a tendency for the pharmaceutical companies to attack the vulnerable...the very elderly or the very young, because they have a lack of advocates. Advocates exist, but they have to know to ASK for help, and of course they don't.

As far as the rising numbers...I'm not really sure WHAT's causing it. correct diagnoses, misdiagnoses, truly an increase in cases, or a ploy by big drug companies to get autism and medicated treatments into the limelight...I do think that the number of children with autism are increasing, but not enough to reflect the huge leap that the statistics have been showing. Why? Probably just because of the mutation becoming more prevalent...I mean if humans are constantly evolving, then it's only logical to assume that along the way certain mutations are going to emerge and affect more people as we continue to evolve...so it's possible that the autism gene is a mutation in the evolution of humankind in general (possibly caused by environment, but who knows since it's hard to finger cases in a lot of countries as being autism because there's less reliable methods of recognizing and diagnosing properly) and it's simply emerging more and more. If that's the case we may have to begin aggressive genetic therapy, once they can finger the carrier and try to isolate or change the code to keep it dormant.

No I'm definitely not lying about my age, LOL
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Avatar universal
I hope we figure it out soon, those statistics changed in a very short period of time. My daughter was told that because the first boy is in the spectrum, it is very possible for the siblings to be affected, especially if they are male. She has a girl and just had another little boy a year ago. So far, he seems fine. Unfortunately sometimes it does not present until around the age of 2 or even 3 years of age. Hmmm...
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Avatar universal
I understand the diagnosis code for Aspergers syndrome that separates it from the broad one of Autism is going to be eliminated. Studies show there is not enough clarity to distinguish it from the original autism code. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
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1035252 tn?1427227833
I think that it's a bad thing if you consider the morale of the people going through this. if you're told your son fits on the spectrum, it's a difficult diagnosis, but it's nowhere near as difficult as being told your son has autism...and if you're the person being diagnosed, the same would apply.
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Avatar universal
Yes, I understand that but at the same time, there is more available and prolonged treatment for the autism code. So my thinking is if someone is on the Aspergers code, they may not be available for as many programs or aids or even financial help that the autism code allows. ?
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1035252 tn?1427227833
that's probably true, but I wonder how much of the treatment is effective because of belief in the treatment, and how much of the treatment is actually physically beneficial? it seems like a fine line, but you have a really good question!
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