Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are We All Autistic Now?

Allen Frances MD is a heavyweight expert on autism. He was chairman of the DSM IV Task Force which set the guidelines by which autism was diagnosed. He now suggests that autism diagnoses may be out of control. He says autism is fashionable. He writes:
Once rare and unmistakable, the term is now used loosely to describe people who do not really satisfy the narrow criteria intended for it by DSM IV. Autism now casts a wide net, catching much milder problems that previously went undiagnosed altogether or were given other labels. Autism is no longer seen as an extremely disabling condition, and many creative and normally eccentric people have discovered their inner autistic self.
One in 38 are now diagnosed with autism, according to Frances and he expects the number of positive diagnoses to go up in 2013:
The autism “epidemic” is set to spread further starting in May 2013, when the next revision of the diagnostic manual (DSM 5) will be published. The DSM 5 definition of an “autistic spectrum” will cast an even wider net, capturing many people now considered to be normal or to have another disorder. Their symptoms will not have changed – just the label.
There's an economic angle to this: lots of government money for positive diagnoses.  According to Autism Today, over $13 billion is spent annually to care for individuals with autism.

The Washington Examiner explained to parents whose children were diagnosed with autism the government benefits available:

If you are just learning of your child’s Autism (as children are typically not diagnosed until the age of 2 to 3), you may not be aware of the amazing assistance available to you and your family. The government provides some great options to those with Autism; as long as an official diagnosis has been made (other eligibility criteria may need to be met). The Division of Developmental Disabilities is the division of government which addresses the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, including children. Here are just a few of the services they offer:

Case Resource Managers...

Individual and Family Services Program...

Medically Intensive Children’s Program...

Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program...
I am not attempting here to be an expert on autism, but when the chairman of the committee that set up the definition of autism thinks the labeling of autistic children may be out of control, and at the same time a $13 billion industry survives because of such diagnoses, one has to wonder.

If your child has been diagnosed with autism, I would do plenty of research before jumping to conclusions. The son of the brilliant Hoover Institute economist Thomas Sowell was slow to speak. This resulted in Sowell writing books about slow speakers, including, The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late.

One reviewer at Amazon wrote about this book:

  As the parent of a late talking child. I was concerned that he exhibited all of the symptoms quoted by the "experts" for a child with PDD-NOS. Little did I realize that taking him in for a free evaluation by the state would lead to School Psychologists and counselors demanding that I enroll him in their "enhanced" programs. After one psychologist accused me of being "in denial" I sought more information and found "The Einstein Syndrome".

This book helped me understand the political and bureaucratic and academic machinations which are creating this bogus "Autism Epidemic" especially in California. This book offered my wife and I real hope at a very dark time in our lives.

I've waited almost 2 years to post this review. My son is now a playful, intelligent, affectionate, TALKATIVE 4 year old getting ready for kindergarten. All of the Autism/PDD "symptoms" completely disappeared on their own. And I have the luxury of returning that diagnosis to the psychologist with a big "F" written on it. Just to show there's no hard feelings, though. I plan on giving her a present, a copy of "The Einstein Syndrome
George Mason University economist and New York Times columnist Tyler Cowen in his book,Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World writes that by current definitons he is autistic. He explains in the book how some autistic charecteristics make a person better able to deal with the fast moving wired in world we live in. I think this is Cowen's best book.

Bottom line: If your child is diagnosed as autistic, don't panic do your research. Read Sowell, read Cowen. It may not be that your child has learning disabilities, any more than Einstein did. It may just be a period when government is creating an environment where positive autistic diagnoses are encouraged for other reasons. You need to fight for your child. The government isn't going to do it for you, with lobbyists knocking at congressional doors making sure as hell that the definition of autism is expanded to include even more children.


  1. If your child is diagnosed autistic, try eliminating gluten, dairy and soy from their diet and see what happens. It really can't hurt and it may relieve food allergy reactions that can bring on autism-like symptoms.

  2. Looks like something's missing after Cowen in the second last paragraph.

  3. Besides all those government programs, it's also a boondoggle for Big Pharma.

  4. I've long maintained that the leading cause of autism is the diagnosis of autism.

  5. To expand on 1st Anonymous: CAPS or Gut And Psychology Syndrome. http://www.gapsdiet.com/

    The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet has its foundation on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) created by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas to heal digestive disorders. SCD gained great popularity after a mother, Elaine Gottschall, healed her own child and became an advocate for SCD. Elaine Gottschall is also the author of the popular book Breaking the Vicious Cycle. Intestinal Health Through Diet.

    Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has taken SCD and evolved it further to create a full protocol for healing digestive disorders and subsequent issues.

    There's also an iPhone app for the GAPS diet.

  6. Autism diagnoses also rose 1000% from 1990 to the present while at same time due to gov. regulations vaccine schedules increased from 10 vaccs for kids under 5 to 36 vaccs for kids under 5. This is unsettled science re: causes. Read Dr. Robert Mendelsohn (former Proj. Head Start Med Director) and Dr. Mayer Eisenstein for the likely cause of autism - vaccines. There is a reason vac. choicers = libertarians.

  7. Although correlation does not mean causation, it is interesting that the Amish, who do not vaccinate, have zero cases of autism.

    That one fact, more than any other, made me start wondering about the causes and if vaccines were the culprit. Big Pharma makes too much money from them, so they'll never be banned/modified until irrefutable, ironclad proof can be brought to the attention of the sheeple.

    Dale Fitz

  8. When I went to grade school in the 1950's with half of my class from the poorer section of town and the other half from the middle class, we had no hyperactivity, no food allergies, no ADD, and nobody knew anybody who had a relative who was autistic. Autism is diagnosed more now because there is more now. And the twisted medical studies did not disprove the vaccine=autism connection. And it is obvious if you read patents on line for vaccine adjuvants and culture mediums, the direct connection between vaccines and the current food allergy epidemic. Every time another vaccine is added to the recommended vaccine schedule for children the incidence of food allergy, ADHD, autism increases.