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Reports Show Autism Rates Spike In America

Two recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shed light on the current prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States. Published in March, these reports reveal that the majority of autism cases among 4- and 8-year-olds have increased from 1 in 44 in 2021 to 1 in 36. This significant rise has sparked discussions about an "autism epidemic."

Karan Emery
Nov 27, 202341 Shares41484 Views
Two recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shed light on the current prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States. Published in March, these reports reveal that the majority of autism cases among 4-and 8-year-olds have increased from 1 in 44 in 2021 to 1 in 36. This significant rise has sparked discussions about an "autism epidemic."
One of the primary reasons for this increase is the improved ability of clinicians to diagnose the disorder. Previously, diagnosing ASD relied on observational methods, which could lead to incorrect diagnoses if clinicians lacked proper training. Autism symptoms can also be mistaken for symptoms of other conditions, including ADHD, learning disabilities, epilepsy, anxiety, and depression. Consequently, there is considerable variation in the diagnoses of the same disorder among different states and school districts, as highlighted in the CDC's report.
Gender bias has long been a major issue in the autism community, and the CDC report also addresses this concern. The historical belief that autism is more prevalent in boys has resulted in many females with autism going undiagnosed and unrecognized. Encouragingly, the latest report suggests a small shift in this gender imbalance. Although the current ratio of male to female diagnoses remains at 4 to 1, some experts question this statistic due to its consistent stability over the past decade despite the overall increase in autism prevalence.
Undiagnosed or misunderstood autism can lead to serious consequences. The lack of support significantly raises the risk of abuse, homelessness, and even suicide among individuals with autism. Within the healthcare system, those with autism are more likely to suffer unnecessarily from preventable or treatable illnesses if they do not receive an early diagnosis. Moreover, autistic adults without the support of affluent families often face significant disadvantages, being denied access to essential programs and services such as Social Security and vocational rehabilitation.
Physical fitness can play a crucial role in supporting individuals with autism by providing accessible and high-quality support services. Frequent physical activity can help them develop motor skills, balance, coordination, social interaction abilities, and self-confidence. Special Strong, an online platform, offers certified personal trainers who specialize in working with individuals with autism through its subsidiary company, Strong Education. Designed specifically for those with autism, these physical fitness regimens provide a supportive environment where individuals can connect with others who share similar experiences. Therefore, physical fitness programs should be an integral part of the support systems available for individuals with autism to help them reach their full potential.
One of the most dangerous and outdated misconceptions about autism is the belief that it can disappear with time. In reality, many adults, often as parents or grandparents, are diagnosed with autism later in life. This highlights the challenges of diagnosing ASD and the limitations of current social services available to individuals with "high support needs" autism.
Currently, there are insufficient organizations and services to cater to the needs of individuals with autism, making it difficult for them to access the necessary help to lead fulfilling lives. It is crucial to understand that autism cannot be "cured," and individuals with autism should not be treated as if they need fixing. Instead, the focus should be on providing them with the support and guidance they require to thrive.
The recent CDC report indicates an increasing number of people with autism. Rather than being alarming, this presents an opportunity to make the necessary adjustments to ensure that individuals with autism receive the support they need to lead better lives. Individuals with autism must advocate for themselves, their loved ones, and their community to ensure that this happens. Establishing places of understanding and accessible, high-quality support services is essential for the safety, security, and well-being of individuals with autism. By taking this collective action, we can work towards creating a society that values and accepts individuals with autism, enabling them to live fulfilling lives and achieve their full potential.
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