Skip to comments.Autism rates hit 'epidemic increase' in N.J.
Posted on 11/26/2012 9:27:53 AM PST by Coleus
The rate of autism in New Jersey has doubled in six years to one in 49 children — and one in 29 boys — an “epidemic increase” in a disorder that has confounded researchers for decades. Two percent of children in the state are now identified with autism by their eighth birthday.
“The change was overwhelming in magnitude,” said Walter Zahorodny, the principal researcher in New Jersey for the federal study released Thursday. “Now it’s beyond an emergency.” Nationally, one in 88 children now has autism, a jump of 78 percent between 2002 and 2008, the new study found.
While at least part of the increase is attributed to enhanced awareness and better detection, the root causes of the escalation remain as mysterious as the disorder itself. Few in New Jersey are impervious to its effects, from the public expense of educating so many children to the private struggles of families whose children may never become fully independent adults.
New Jersey’s rate, as in the past, is among the highest in the nation. It is now second only to Utah’s, based on the 2008 data for 14 states reported Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Zahorodny said children here do not face a greater risk of developing the disorder. Rather, he said, health professionals and educators “are more attuned than elsewhere to the signs of autism.” It is the increasing rate of diagnosis in New Jersey and across the nation that has advocates concerned.
Autism New Jersey, a statewide advocacy organization, termed the rise “extremely alarming.” More resources are needed to train teachers and other professionals who work with people with autism, from diagnosis through adulthood, said Linda Meyer, its executive director. A Bergen County private school for children with autism, the Reed Academy in Oakland, enrolls 31 students but has a waiting list of more than 300, said its executive director, H. Todd Eachus.
One mother said she was beyond worrying about the causes of autism now that her daughter is 16. “When my daughter was diagnosed, it was one in 150 nationally. Now it’s one in 88,” said Barbara Strate, who manages an Internet community for families affected by autism that has 2,000 members.
Her greatest concern: “What happens to those one in 88 nationally when they become adults? What will happen to my daughter in five years when that yellow school bus no longer stops at our house?” Autism is a complex disorder that affects the brain’s development early in life, and is believed to have genetic and environmental causes. It interferes with a person’s ability to communicate, learn and form relationships. Behavior is often focused and repetitive.
The symptoms vary in combination and intensity. While some people with autism have normal or higher-than-normal intelligence and are seen as quirky and socially inept, others are unable to speak, sometimes bite, hit and scratch themselves, and require constant supervision. Clinicians refer to an “autism spectrum.”
Eighty percent of the children with autism in the New Jersey study were identified as having the most severe form of the disorder, said Zahorodny, who is an assistant professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. They weren’t “borderline” cases. Boys were more than five times as likely to be diagnosed with autism as girls, both in New Jersey and in the rest of the country. Differences among racial and ethnic groups were not significant in the state, he said.
“People want answers to what’s causing autism and why we’re seeing such an increase in autism diagnoses,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC director, said in a telephone news conference from Atlanta. “So do we.” There was some good news in the study: The age at diagnosis has dropped to 4 years nationally, and 3 years and 2 months in New Jersey. Early intervention holds the most hope of enabling children to reach their fullest potential. Researchers say the goal is to lower the age of diagnosis to 18 months.
“It’s critical to ask quickly” if parents have a concern about their child’s development, said Dr. Colleen Boyle, director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Don’t wait.” Frieden cautioned that the rise in rates “may be entirely the result of better detection.” But others said that could explain only part of it.
“We know that the increase is partially due to increased awareness,” said Susanne Buchanan, Autism New Jersey’s clinical director. “Probably some is due to increased parental age. There’s some increased risk due to premature births.” But that accounts for only half of it, she said.
The study was based on a survey of educational and medical records for the more than 7,000 children who turned 8 in Union County in 2008. Previous studies, in 2000, 2002 and 2006 in New Jersey, included children who turned 8 in four counties. Zahorodny said he was confident the 2008 data represented a “true rate.” New Jersey had an average of eight to 10 records for each child, compared with three or four in other states, the study said. That may indicate that children here are evaluated more thoroughly and are more likely to be identified with an autism disorder.
“Better detection, particularly among children who may not have come to attention in the past, including girls and minorities,” may have contributed to the higher rates here, said state Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. The state’s high rate does not reflect a migration of families from other states to take advantage of the services provided here, Zahorodny said. More than 80 percent of the children identified with autism were born in New Jersey, a higher rate of in-state births than other states in the study.
The tracking studies are useful to policymakers as they allocate state and federal resources to autism diagnosis and treatment. A full report of 2006 New Jersey data is expected to be published shortly. Researchers are currently analyzing 2010 data and beginning to collect 2012 data.
If you give Social Security to a child for having autism, you will find a lot more of it!
“Yeah my kid acts weird. Is there some money in for me?”
Funny how you never heard anything about autism until school districts and the social security admin stopped rubber stamping disability benefits for ADD and ADHD.
I’m no expert.
If the actual cases of Autism are increasing at the rate statistics show (Vs. rate of diagnosis), I wonder if it is an evolutionary condition of our race. Technology and morality (lack there of) have driven social interaction, empathy and passion for selef righteousness down among the human race in general and in America for certain. I have wondered if there is a correlation.
I can’t say and have no proof there is any correlation. I don’t even know much about the scientific and medical details about the failings in the brain that cause the symptoms associated with Autism. But I know several families with kids of varying degrees of the disease. If there is a cause, it must be something universal and developmental beyond simple genetics.
If autism is really getting worse, then I would expect that more children would be just sitting there staring like the worst case of autism. On the other hand if they are playing with definitions or diagnoses, then you will have more kids diagnosed with autism but no more cases of kids completely detached from the world.
If I can coach my kid to act weird, is there some money in it for me?
New Jersey was not amused.
Our food is killing us, and a lot of that is caused by changes due to government. It’s that simple.
Down here it is called “Crazy checks”. Lots of people have their kids disrupt the school classes so they can claim more government money.
Looks like Michael Savage was right after all.
She seems to think that because her daughetr is in Gubmint schools, she is the gubmints problem - THAT's what is wrong here.
Our daughter is (relatively) high-functioning Autistic, and we home-school her because she is OUR responsibility, not the public schools.
Sure, our concern is: "Will she be self-supporting as an adult"?
We pray and work towards that, but if not - then she will live with us, like she does right now.
And for those not familiar, it's not just a matter of: "Acting wierd" - it goes much deeper than that.
= New Jersey has so expanded the definition of “autism”, that nearly every child is now inflicted.
= Give us tons of tax money.
Autism is a spectrum disorder
If the studies say that 80% of the cases diagnosed are on the severe end of the spectrum, then you can be sure it is not just kids acting “flighty”
I suggest you volunteer some time at a group that works with autistic kids if you think kids are just too active undisciplined and misunderstood, or can be coached into fooling the doctors who diagnose them
I have to suspect an environmental factor is causing this, our body tissues are loaded with toxins from the environment and the products we consume or just use everyday
and a tiny effect on a fetus at a critical day of its development can be devastating
My son bears the facial features of a child whose birth mother consumed alcohol during a 3 day window of his fetal development when his facial features were being formed
He gave 2 reasons: 1. Many of the older cases of Autism were diagnosed as MR and now we do a better job of identifying Autism.
2. There is social pressure to diagnose as Autism because with Autism there is hope that with treatment a fairly “normal” life can be lived but that is not true with MR and that parents would rather say their kid is Autistic than MR.
I would add that we have greatly expanded what is considered Autism to the point that any kid that is a little socially awkward could get the label.
I don't know if the DR was right or not but he seemed to make sense.
If you have a child that has Autism, there aren't many that can fake it.. I am the co-Guardian of my grandson that is a low functioning Autistic child.. The pressure of the demands in raising the boy, eventually broke my daughters home and family apart.. However, I have no idea what NJ uses as Autistic Symptoms, and Tendencies, to have an opinions.. This horrible affliction is mindbogglingly, in it's affects on the children, and families.. I hope we can determine where it originates and can put an end to it's progression..
Many years ago I believe it was Joe Piskopo who did a Saturday Night Live skit on brain damaged people in New Jersey, caused by pollution
New Jersey was not amused.
“I’M FROM JERSEY!...YOU FROM JERSEY?!”
ditto here, except you cannot assume you will outlive your child.
One of the things we pay taxes for as a society s to provide a floor of economic support for disabled citizens, so do not think if it as charity or welfare. Just because some abuse the generosity and civic compact of our society with programs for the disabled, does not mean all do
I wonder about all those ultrasounds they do on pregnant women. It can’t be good for the fetus.
Right, but you darn well know we are not the norm. We have a son with a rare genetic syndrome (missing a chunk of a chromosome) who is almost 7. We have been preparing financially for him since diagnosis.
For those of you who dont live in our world who are reading this, this is what it means: We are financially responsible for our son for all 70 (or so) years of his life. The burden is immense as he will never live unassisted. Special needs financial planners, lawyers, therapists and doctors are all involved in setting up a special needs trust and a 2nd-to-die (rich) life insurance policy (and 2 $1M policies on me and my wife) and paying for them annually is not easy.
My wife and I make a good living and we already, with 14 years at the LEAST left with our son under our roof, already thinking about housing and living expenses for our son. And I really dont know if well be able to do it to the extent wed like to. How can we know if well be able to physically handle him in the future? We certainly wont be able to forever, thats for sure.
Private assisted living that we can trust? How many thousands of dollars/month will that be in 15 years?
The lack of adult special needs housing for all incomes is a HUGE problem, no matter how you slice it.
I suppose so but they have been doing them for over 30 years, so why the escalation now?
BTW, the US military has a MUCH higher rate of autisic children than nonmilitary- again suggesting an environmental exposure
Far too many people see their beautiful normal children change suddenly at about age 2 - within days or weeks of multiple vaccines now required.
(Standing by to get flamed by the “It’s not the vaccine” crowd)
I understand that - but my greatest fear is that she would become a ward of the state.
My wife and I accept that we cannot do what others' our age are able to do - most of our life is lived in our home (or church), and tens of thousands (out-of-pocket) have been spent on specialists and therapies.
We are parents - that is the job God has tasked us with - we joyfully serve Him this way.
As I remember, it was a hard hat character who had something like nuclear fallout on his helmet. He would eat sandwiches, oblivious to the consequences of falling poison. I thought it was hilarious.
let me be the first:
IT HAS NOTHING IN THE WORLD TO DO WITH VACCINES.
Not many kids can fake it but that won;t stop doctors, parents, social workers, politicians, and schools from faking a diagnosis so as to steal more money from the rest of us.
A very basic econimix maxium: If you tax something you will get less of it, if you subsidize something you will get more of it. I am not saying the level of autisim will change but the number of diagnosis will increaase.
Queue in the “Autism, ADHD, Asperber’s Syndrome doesn’t exist. Its just bad parenting.” crowd.
As a parent of one such child, go ahead idiots....make my day.
I have worked with and counseled autistic and Asperger’s Syndrome children. It is a high masculine consciousness that does not merge with the emotional in the thalamus. This is why there are far more boys than girls with this disorder.
I’ve seen this created in children by abusive condescending parents who suppress a very young child’s emotional expression when there is no mother bonding. While this is not the norm, this does happen.
In the children that I did test extensively, I often found a trauma occurred in the mother’s life during the third month of pregnancy when the neural tube is developing.
While these children are very intelligent, they have a difficult time learning in early grades when most children learn emotionally rather than logically. Autistic children learn logically by location of stored memory rather than memory specific.
As a parent of son afflicted, you and Savage are complete idiots.
If you said that to my face, I’d smack you right in the mouth.
Your son has asperbers, not autism.
Our food is killing us, and a lot of that is caused by changes due to government. Its that simple. >>
Do you mean GMO foods?
Also, Savage’s 95% number was no doubt innacurate and inflated for shock value, but the fact remains that with powerful drug companies pushing psychiatric drugs like candy, teachers being “trained” to finger kids who are just fidgety or socially awkward, leads to over inflated diagnosis rates. That was his point.
* parents and children eating manufactured food
* parents and children stuffed full of shots, pills, living promiscuous lifestyles that the snews media does not want to publicize, which promote all sorts of conditions and diseases that ultimately effect mothers and children - there is basically no research at all done on this because it would point out the negative effects of the immoral lifestyles that are heavily promoted today
* parents and children doing nothing but watching idiotic tv, internet and video games from birth
* parents and children having weak feminist upbringing from birth, where everything is tolerated, nothing is expected of them in terms of chores, respect, etc; we are allowed to be babies our entire lives today
* billions in PR and marketing of autism
* schools looking for special needs kids to drive up the numbers in order to drive up school costs (alinsky, they may not all be aware of this) and make a big drama about how great schools and teachers are; a crisis which the teacher’s unions can use to extort more money from local municipalities
* I think about 10% to 20% of school budgets pay for costs of special needs; cutting these programs would mean layoffs for those people
* schools pull all students classified as “special needs” out of school performance statistics; they’re just taking the worst performers out of the analysis, which helps to make their performance look much better
* parents seeing the diagnosis as giving them door-to-door service and personal attention for their kids in school at no cost to the parents
* parents seeing the diagnosis as the school system providing free day care for their child that can’t graduate school and would need day care if they stayed at home and both parents worked outside the home; otherwise they have to have one parent stay home and lose income, or pay for day care
* some children have actual medical issues
* most probably results from “epidemics” above
* some probably results from congenital conditions and is a medical issue that can not be avoided
* unfortunately, medical industry research is not geared towards fixing the problem, but finding drugs that make the symptoms bearable, so the kids who have real problems are not nearly as well-served as they would be by true research on real cures
Big corps, lawyers always jump on Sales opportunities and try to make the most of them regardless of almost any moral qualms any typical person may have. The more the true Gospel is spread amongst them, the less such reprehensible actions we’ll see.
There may be other causes, but the statistical evidence is strong against the vaccines; they are bad news across the board.
Time to start preparing spiritually, its way more effective:
>> “so the kids who have real problems are not nearly as well-served as they would be by true research on real cures” <<
The real cures are always spiritual in nature for things like autism. All the “research” in the world will ignore the evidence.
How wonderful that you worked in this area, and I too have researched many of these observations, that I feel have some merit.. Unfortunately my grandson has displayed some of the most obvious symptoms early in his development, and his dad and mom were so loving and responsive..
As he has grown, he became more abusive to himself and others that interactive with him.. Sad really, and you are correct, he is very intelligent, in spite of his communicative limitations..
He has been enrolled in private specialty education with highly professional Autism specialist almost from the beginning of his diagnoses at 3 years old.. Thankfully their insurance and our personal income has allowed us to afford him his greatest opportunity to evolve with his own unique development..
Somewhere there is a government check attached to being diagnosed as autistic.
We have our 20 year old son with us now, he is not high functioning. Our concern is what will happen to him when we are to old or pass on. There are no good answers.
Aspergers is an ASD
Now you know
the kid gets crazy checks!!!!!!
My grandson will be graduating from college in May with a degree in software engineering and while he has some quirks, he is high functioning. He still walks on his tip toes, which drives me crazy.
He had a difficult birth and I've always wondered if that could be a factor but he has come a long way since being a little guy.
Yep. That’s it. I believe the powder on his hat was supposed to be chemical waste. He nods his head while eating and the dust falls all over his sandwich.
That’s fine. But with these threads you’re always going to hear from someone who has a child with real developmental problems that takes issue with the assertion that the diagnosis rates are over inflated, but base that opinion on exactly one data point... their own. I’m not demeaning anyone’s life situation, but the fact remains that it’s big business for the drug pushers and “mental health” industry, and it’s going to bolster the reported rates.