Based on all of the attention that autism has been getting in recent years and because of the noble awareness efforts that have been undertaken by individuals and groups, most people understand that this condition is becoming more of a problem in the United States. According to many different bodies of statistics, the autism rate in the United States has basically doubled over the past 10 years, and that’s likely due to parents being more aware of a potential problem and getting it diagnosed and because of a change to the definition of autism that includes more children.
While these statistics are troubling for many reasons, the fact that they cover so many people and cover the entire country perhaps leads to people thinking of them in more of an abstract manner. This may be especially so for parents of children who do not have autism. However, the New York City Education Department provided the New York Times with a statistic regarding the number of children in the city’s public school system with autism that should hit home for everyone.
The story in the New York Times was actually written to highlight some of the cultural norms with people that do not necessarily lend themselves to having their children evaluated and potentially diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. As part of the factual foundation for the story, the article stated that the city’s Education Department has data that indicates that more than 10,000 students, or approximately 1 percent of all of the students enrolled in public schools in the city, are classified as having autism. That number represents a spike of approximately 50 percent from just four years ago.
Sadly, this number tends to fall in line with those that are available on a national level. Most estimates indicate that presently, approximately 1 of every 88 children born in the United States is ultimately diagnosed with an autism disorder. That represents twice the rate that this diagnosis was made at the turn of the 21st Century. It’s also a rate that many experts feel is going to continue to trend upward until some type of strategy is formulated to help prevent this condition from developing.
This widespread opinion touches on one of the biggest problems relating to autism. While some studies have shown that there could be certain causes that have been identified, no one is completely sure about what leads to this condition. Examples of causes that have been found include genetics and the infliction of brain damage on the child when he or she is in the process of being born. Hopefully someone somewhere will be able to help more clearly identify those causes.
We have been representing families whose children were diagnosed with autism because of birth injuries as New York medical malpractice lawyers for decades. We hope that stories like this one continue to prompt people to action and that someday we are able to turn this trend around and win the fight against this difficult condition.