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Autism overwhelming Alabama

Feb 05

This is horrific news for AL.  Why isn’t anyone the least bit curious as to why it’s happening?

With Alabama outpacing nation in autism cases, state coordinator seeks more funding for care and support

Alabama is outpacing the rest of the country with the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, and the state autism director said Alabama needs to step up its spending to help families manage the growing challenge.

Alabama saw a 517 percent increase in Autism Spectrum Disorder cases in residents aged 3 to 21 from the year 2000 to 2010, which was ahead of the national increase of 448 percent. Nationwide, one in 88 children have autism. There are 100 autistic students in Madison City Schools.

Each of those families spends an average of $60,000 a year caring for a child or adult with autism, according to


So why is this happening in Alabama and everywhere in the U.S.? A once-rare disorder is now so common that everyone knows someone-maybe lots of people-with an autistic child and no official can tell us why.

The autism rate is based on studies of eight year olds, not eighty year olds. No one has ever been able to show us a comparable rate among adults. And that simple fact should be scaring us all. Experts tell us that 80 percent of autistic Americans are under the age of 18. Imagine the future when a million disabled children age out of school and become dependent on the taxpayers for their support and care.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

In the 1970s, the autism rate was one in every 10,000 kids and almost no one knew anyone with autism. That changed when the definition was broadened in 1994 to include other behaviors doctors were seeing in children. At that point the numbers exploded.

1995 1:500

2001 1:250

2004 1:166

2007 1:150

2009 1:110

2012 1:88

Some people claim that all the autism is the result of better diagnosing of a disorder that’s always been around. If that were true, the rate would have leveled out between 1995 and 2000, after the definition was changed in 1994. That hasn’t happened.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism




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