Something is changing, so what is it?
It is not the boys.
A small part of it may be over-diagnosing normal juvenile male behaviour, but I'm going to propose that the elephant in the room is diet.
Over the last half century, the following issues have crept into diet, and are rising (as are the trend lines for a distressing number of ailments, including ASD):
Are all of these to blame?
Probably not, but some of them are.
Dr. Perlmutter ("Grain Brain") reports excellent results in treating ADD simply by getting kids off grains and adding EPA/DHA supplements.
For anyone facing this, changing aisles at the supermarket may be the cheapest most effective thing you can do. And switching to a low-carb high-fat grain-free diet can benefit the whole family.
Why does it affect boys at such a high rate?
You, and Dr Perlmutter, are 1000% right.
Another thing I wonder about is if constantly staring at technology, flourescent lights and the absence of natural sunlight don't contribute significantly to the problem.
Yes, possibly. I have an oldest daughter with Asperger's and two children who do NOT have it, so this diet issue must affect one and not the others? They all have the same diet.
When one child walks around the perimeter of the playground over and over again ... I could go on and on. We started homeschooling after first grade. She's also gifted.
One thing that intrigues me is gut bacteria. My oldest daughter was slammed with Roseola when she was a year old. It made her eyes bug out (I think one is damaged to this day) and caused a high fever spike. She had a round of antibiotics for that and then later two more rounds for ear infections.
I WISH I'd known then what I know now about probiotics. The poor child was never given any. :-( I did give them children's yogurt, but that's about it.
Now, many parents are giving their children probiotics regularly.
Psychologists are starting to treat anxiety, depression, and OCD with probiotics.
What about soy formula?
I have a son with Asperger’s and I’ll tell you exactly why there are more diagnoses now than in the past.
Before the era of no hit, no taunt discipline, either parents, siblings or school mates of the milder cases would beat, berate, belittle or otherwise coerce a suppression of the ‘aberrant’ behaviors.
I know from personal experience that high functioning kids can learn how to internalize or rechannel their behavior dramatically under these conditions.
We are sheltering our son as best we can, and trying to help him steer his choices rather than dictate them to him. We see glimpses from time to time that he understands he is going to need to learn how to find a niche in larger society. I hate that there are no easy answers to any of this.