The CDC has come out with new data today showing that the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder is now 1 in every 88 American children. For boys, the numbers are even worse. The research that was collected from 14 different data gathering places in 2008, says that 1 in every 54 boys has Autism. That’s a 78% increase in Autism in just five years.
As a family member, former teacher, and friend to people with ASD, I am just crushed. I know I should count my blessings and be grateful that my own children do not have ASD, but I am heartsick for all of the parents who are not so lucky.
My blog is apolitical by nature, and I’m not trying to change that, but what the heck? 1 out of every 88 Americans born today will have to struggle to learn how to do the simplest of things, like ask their mommy for a cup of apple juice, and that doesn’t concern the powers that be? You would think that this huge increase in Autism would be at the forefront of national security.
Who is going to take care of these children in the future? Who is going to pay for these children now? How are families going to manage? How are school districts going to manage? What happens if the problem gets worse? Why isn’t this front page news, every single freaking day?
What if these kids are the proverbial “canary in the coal mines” giving us a clue that something is terribly wrong with our environment, or our DNA, or (my MIL would say) our medical practices? When I think of my own experience of all of a sudden developing severe gluten intolerance in my 30s, I get even more freaked out. Is there something in our food supply? Was there something in our food supply when my mother was pregnant with me, or when my grandmother was pregnant with my mother?
My husband calls Autism “the black hole of conversation” in our family, because we can all talk about it for so long; spinning our wheels and getting more and more upset. So instead of doing that, I’m going to be proactive. I’m hunting down a blue light bulb so I can participate in Autism Speak’s Light It Up Blue day of advocacy on Monday April 2. I’m also going to open my wallet and make a donation in honor of my mom’s birthday. I wish I could do more.