Evidence against ASD "epidemic" - the great reclassification

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Mona Pereth
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10 Jun 2019, 1:37 pm

Below is my collection of links to pages showing how the increase in childhood "autism" diagnoses is, in fact, not much greater than a corresponding decrease in the number of children whose primary diagnosis (for special ed purposes) was "intellectual disability" or "mental retardation":

Autism: Epidemic or Explosion? (And Why It Matters)
We have been here all along.
James Coplan MD
Making Sense of Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Posted Jul 12, 2016
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-sense-autistic-spectrum-disorders/201607/autism-epidemic-or-explosion-and-why-it-matters

Coplan - Making Sense of ASD Part 2
James Coplan, MD
January 14, 2014
http://www.drcoplan.com/media/LACE-02.pdf

Evidence against an “autism epidemic”
Orac
April 4, 2006
https://respectfulinsolence.com/2006/04/04/evidence-against-an-autism-epi/

Another reminder that there is no autism epidemic
Orac
January 25, 2017
https://respectfulinsolence.com/2017/01/25/another-reminder-that-there-is-no-autism-epidemic/

Increasing prevalence of autism is due, in part, to changing diagnoses
[Special ed stats: 2/3 of "autism" rise is "ID" decline]
by Sam Sholtis
Penn State News
July 21, 2015
https://news.psu.edu/story/363374/2015/07/21/research/increasing-prevalence-autism-due-part-changing-diagnoses?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_term=363760_HTML&utm_content=07-23-2015-17-35&utm_campaign=daily%2520newswire

The Contribution of Diagnostic Substitution to the Growing Administrative Prevalence of Autism in US Special Education
Paul T. Shattuck
Pediatrics
April 2006, VOLUME 117 / ISSUE 4
https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/117/4/1028.abstract?sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

More Evidence Autism Rates Not Truly Increasing
Published by Steven Novella
Jan 24, 2017
https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/more-evidence-autism-rates-not-truly-increasing/

Relevant academic journal articles:

Investigating Diagnostic Substitution and Autism Prevalence Trends
Craig J. Newschaffer
Pediatrics
April 2006, VOLUME 117 / ISSUE 4
https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/117/4/1436?sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

Diagnostic Substitution and Changing Autism Prevalence
Paul T. Shattuck
Pediatrics
April 2006, VOLUME 117 / ISSUE 4
https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/117/4/1438

Evidence of a reduction over time in the behavioral severity of autistic disorder diagnoses
Andrew J.O. Whitehouse
Matthew N. Cooper
First published: 19 January 2017
https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1740
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/aur.1740


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


Last edited by Mona Pereth on 10 Jun 2019, 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kraftiekortie
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10 Jun 2019, 1:41 pm

I totally agree that there is no "autism epidemic"---and there never has been one.

Now...the proof is in the pudding!



ASPartOfMe
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10 Jun 2019, 6:08 pm

If the anti vaxxers have a theory I can have one. I have posted it a number of times before but there are always new members.

The anti-vaxxers and those looking at other environmental poisons are looking at the wrong environmental factors. IMHO we are a more autism unfriendly world than even 30 years ago in these ways.

There is more sensory stimulation.

Much more multitasking is required to function today.

In the days of old for certain jobs, it was expected the person would be in the corner doing his or her thing, nowadays the key job requirements for most jobs even programmers listed are people/networking skills/team player. When I entered the workforce I was often told the boss and employee do not have to like each other as long as they act professionally towered each other and "this is a place of business, not a social club"

The issues below effect everybody but are worse for people with innate social issues
Devices instead of face to face inhibit learning social skills.
Helicopter parenting and bulldozer parenting inhibit learning to be independent.

Today peoples days are completely planned out and busy inhibiting independence, learning one's strengths and weakness. This can cause multitasking, sensory and burnout problems.

Thus I believe there are a whole lot of people who might have functioned with difficulty that can't be functional today which is the definition of "disorder".

The above is not meant to negate the important role of the expansion of diagnostic criteria.


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Mona Pereth
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11 Jun 2019, 12:55 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The anti-vaxxers and those looking at other environmental poisons are looking at the wrong environmental factors. IMHO we are a more autism unfriendly world than even 30 years ago in these ways.

There is more sensory stimulation.

Much more multitasking is required to function today.

Agreed, these are big problems in today's world.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
In the days of old for certain jobs, it was expected the person would be in the corner doing his or her thing, nowadays the key job requirements for most jobs even programmers listed are people/networking skills/team player.

Yep. Even worse: The "open office" fad. Even a lot of NT's hate the lack of privacy.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
When I entered the workforce I was often told the boss and employee do not have to like each other as long as they act professionally towered each other and "this is a place of business, not a social club"

But now there seems to be more emphasis on fitting in to company culture. That's a BIG problem for autistic people.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The issues below effect everybody but are worse for people with innate social issues
Devices instead of face to face inhibit learning social skills.
Helicopter parenting and bulldozer parenting inhibit learning to be independent.

Today peoples days are completely planned out and busy inhibiting independence, learning one's strengths and weakness. This can cause multitasking, sensory and burnout problems.

Thus I believe there are a whole lot of people who might have functioned with difficulty that can't be functional today which is the definition of "disorder".

Some other, longer-term relevant trends:

Back in the old days, when most people lived and worked on farms or in some other business that was engaged in by the entire family, most people learned their social skills primarily at home, via explicit teaching from their parents and/or older siblings.

With the advent of the industrial revolution and then the advent of mass education, kids are now expected to pick up most of their social skills on their own, on the school playground. This was fine for NT kids, but not so fine for the kids who would now be labeled "autistic."

An even further development in this direction happened in the 1970's. Until then, most kids -- or at least most middle-class kids -- still spent most of their time in early childhood at home with their mothers. But then, as more and more middle-class mothers went into the out-of-the-home workforce, either by choice or because they had to, even their small children now spent most of their time in child care centers or preschool, getting even less one-on-one attention from their parents.

This too turned out to be fine for most NT kids, but not for the kids now labeled "autistic." I think it's no coincidence that Asperger's Syndrome started to be recognized (in the English-speaking world) about a decade after the mass movement of mothers into the workforce was mostly complete.

(And, no, I DON'T think the solution is for women to go back into the kitchen. But we do need society as a whole to become much better at educating autistic kids. This will require the input of autistic people.)


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


cyberdad
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11 Jun 2019, 2:05 am

I'm not an expert but hasn't changes in diagnostic criteria between DSMIII and DSMIV accounted for the rise in people being picked up for diagnosis, particularly more females picked up than in the past.



Mona Pereth
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11 Jun 2019, 2:20 am

cyberdad wrote:
I'm not an expert but hasn't changes in diagnostic criteria between DSMIII and DSMIV accounted for the rise in people being picked up for diagnosis,

Of course that -- and greater public awareness of autism -- are the biggest parts of the picture, as I documented in my original post in this thread. But there are other possibly relevant issues too.

cyberdad wrote:
particularly more females picked up than in the past.

The issue of under-diagnosis of women and girls became a big deal in the literature about ten years ago, long after the DSMIV was published. But, yes, that's another factor expanding the number of people who get diagnosed.


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


cyberdad
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11 Jun 2019, 2:29 am

There is an interesting divergence in ASD diagnosis between developing and OECD countries. One interesting link is the gut-diet-biome relationship whereby an increase in hygiene results in first world babies being overrun with particular bacteria that secrete neurotoxins. Whereas developing coutnries the normal flora of the gut is much more diverse due to greater exposure to bugs + consumption of food that is more likely spoiled/fermented.

Another interesting one is the difference in electronic screen devices correlated with rate of diagnosis, traditional societies have limited access to TVs and whether cathode ray exposure from the 1960s might be a potential environmental trigger.

Lots to speculate about



ASPartOfMe
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11 Jun 2019, 2:56 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
I'm not an expert but hasn't changes in diagnostic criteria between DSMIII and DSMIV accounted for the rise in people being picked up for diagnosis,

Of course that -- and greater public awareness of autism -- are the biggest parts of the picture, as I documented in my original post in this thread. But there are other possibly relevant issues too.

cyberdad wrote:
particularly more females picked up than in the past.

The issue of under-diagnosis of women and girls became a big deal in the literature about ten years ago, long after the DSMIV was published. But, yes, that's another factor expanding the number of people who get diagnosed.

Also the recognition that adults in general can be autistic. Although changing, the childhood schizophrenia roots of the autism diagnosis still predominates in research and attention.


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graywyvern
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11 Jun 2019, 11:43 am

good thread.
wonder how long it will take to percolate out into the general populace as "news"...


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Mona Pereth
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11 Jun 2019, 3:35 pm

cyberdad wrote:
There is an interesting divergence in ASD diagnosis between developing and OECD countries.

Probably a lot fewer psychotherapists per capita in developing countries, much less psychotherapists qualified to diagnose ASD? As long as that's the case, there's probably not much basis for concluding anything about relative prevalence.


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- Finally diagnosed with ASD in May 2019, after having suspected it for over ten years, and after having deeply explored the autism community for over one year while waiting for and obtaining diagnosis.
- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


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12 Jun 2019, 4:19 pm

Most workplaces seem like social clubs these days.


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