Complacency hurts autism

The shocking new numbers of autism cases in the United States – one in 88 children, and one in 54 boys – have been met by government health officials, doctors and the media with a shrug of the shoulders and a comment not to worry about it.

These recently reported numbers by the Centers for Disease Control actually are from the year 2008 and are of 8-year-old children. Numbers in New Jersey and Utah are even more staggering – one in 29 boys.

Officials continue to attribute the biggest health emergency in history to better diagnosing and a broader definition of autism. This is clearly wrong and shows an inability to face the truth or hide it.

Health officials have been talking about better diagnosing for more than a decade. In 2004, when the numbers were one in 166, it was better diagnosing as it remains the answer today. The broader definition of autism was expanded in 1994. Eighteen years later, it would not account for the huge increase.

There have been 127 genetic studies of autism since 2006, and we are no closer to finding its cause.

As every year passes and the numbers reach catastrophic proportions, it has yet been declared a crisis by our government, and so many people seem to accept autism as just another illness that needs to be accepted as fact.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children and families are suffering.

Maurine Meleck

North Augusta, S.C.

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