Posted by Dad
on August 05, 2000 at 13:06:10:
In Reply to: Sorry, try again for a very inflamatory article posted by mother(uk) on August 05, 2000 at 06:47:37:
If by monitoring you mean diagnosis, as in better diagnosis is responsible for the rise in autism, then there is truth to that. More and more kids who used to be labeled MR, BD, and ED who were in fact really AU are being recognized for their true disability. Similarly, many HFA and Asperger kids who may not have been dx'd as anything at all are also now being labeled properly.
However this is only a small part of the equation. Most of the people who compile the lists tink to the DSM IV criteria, all of which would have been labeled as something, not left off the charts entirely. So for autism to have grown by approx 900% over the 90's (US Dept. of Ed figures) there would have had to be a corresponding DROP in the other categories of MR, BD and ED. Surprisingly enough, this is not the case at all, these categories have also grown, although their rate of growth is very, very slight. This does, however happen to be the case, some of the increase is due to more accurate dx.
Most of these rates come from the public school systems headcounts. They have the greatest opportunity to count children, as we are all expected to send our kids in. So, some of the increase is almost assuredly due to more and more parents who in the past would have kept their autistic children home, had them placed privately, turned them over to the state to place in residential facilities or some other such are instead choosing to send them into the schools. We do have much better services now than were around 20 years ago (even though there is plenty of room for improvement still) and we have many more advocates who are willing to slug it out with the less cooperative schools into providing services. Remember that even if your child is not enrolled in the school, if you are using due process for reimbursment of private therapies, your child is now counted. Again, this only accounts for a fraction of the growth.
Their are other contributing factors, which include an increase in immuno dysfunction which can lead to autistic like conditions, environmental factors, like toxic metal poisoning, and the suspected MMR.
While I must say I am not yet convinced that MMR is the smoking gun in this, there is one piece of circumstancial evidence that I find is not easily explained away. Why is it, if MMR is innocent of these claims against it, why is it that the spike and beginning of the steady growth in prevalance occured shortly after the MMR was introduced in 1978 in the US AND around the time it was introduced in 1988 in the UK. Seems too damn convenient to be just explained away, doesn't it?
I think what needs to be done is to have several completely independant groups conduct a large enough study to see if there is indeed a connection. I would also like to see the CDC choose several states and eliminate the MMR vaccine from their roster, giving single dose vaccines instead, so we can see how their prevalance rate reacts after say 5 years. If the states witrh no MMR vaccine stop growing or even decline, I would say that would be indication enough that the MMR vaccine is faulty and needs to be abandoned. I do not look for Sam to take this step anytime soon, as it requires vision, honesty and a true desire to know the truth, something I do not think our career and tenured bureaucrats have.