Has the Rate of Autism Changed in Recent Years?
New survey results reveal that autism diagnosis trends may contradict the popular belief that autism is on the rise. Read on to learn more.
Autism has gained a lot more media and public attention in recent years. This may be in part due to the fact that many studies reported a steady rise in its incidence over recent decades. As a result, the movement to make the public more aware of this condition took off with momentum.
When autism rates were increasing, the public began to panic, even refusing potentially life-saving vaccines for fear their children would get autism.
For a while, people were panicking. There was the fiasco where everyone was fearful of vaccinating their child because they were scared it would give them autism. This actually resulted in more harm than good because it turned out that vaccines don't give people autism after all. Rather, they are very useful in preventing many horrible and deadly diseases.
Autism rates were also affecting a woman's decision to get pregnant
Many women are reluctant to have children in their later years as they are wary that the rates of genetic disorders like autism steadily rise with older maternal age. People are scared of the disorder, but we have come a long way in helping those who have the condition.
Though autism rates were rising, there was some good that came out of it too
In recent years, some good has come out of the rising prevalence reported by previous studies. We have put effort into understanding the autism disorder better. Not only is awareness good for fundraising efforts, but it's also good for supporting research and making the condition more widely accepted by the public. The people are also getting educated about this disorder, making it easier for autistic people to integrate into their communities.
Autism began getting more attention in the media, and public awareness of the disorder has begun to improve
For a while, autism spectrum disorder was poorly represented by the media or other public avenues. As a result, many people didn't know what it was and were even sometimes afraid of it. Kids would become the butt of jokes, or get bullied at school. Many were ostracized from social settings. However, raising awareness has also been helpful to make the public improve efforts to accept people with autism into their communities and hearts. Anti-bullying campaigns and efforts to positively represent the disorder has been improving in media over the past few years.
A new survey may reveal that recent autism rates are actually steady rather than rising
However, it seems that autism may not be increasing in rate as much as we thought. A recent survey was done to evaluate how prevalent the disorder was between 2014 and 2016. What they used was called The National Health Interview Survey, which was a health survey that was administered yearly in the United States. Study surveyors go to each participating household to conduct in-person interviews. They ask families who have at least one child between the ages of 3 to 17 years old to answer a series of questions. Families that end up getting interviewed were selected at random by a computer, to try and minimize any bias that may affect which families get interviewed.