Until the last few years, it was thought autism spectrum disorders, including autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder or more commonly referred to as PDD-NOS were fairly rare. In the the 1990's, it was thought to affect only about 1 child in every 2,000 children.
Until a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, those numbers had increased to about 1 in every 150 youth. Now, NIH, believes those numbers to be more like 1 out of every 100 children has some sort of an autism spectrum disorder.
According to an Op-Ed piece by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, "Almost every American I talk to about this issue knows at least one family that is affected by autism."
You can read her entire editorial by clicking here. There are several links in her editorial that will take you to other interesting sources of information tregarding these alarming numbers.
Ms. Sebelius ends her piece with this statement, "Like public health challenges such as polio in the 1950s and HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, we must address the rising prevalence and complex needs of people with autism. We still have more questions than answers. But with additional funding and a new coordinated national strategy, we are working harder and more closely together to find those answers than ever before."
Do you know someone with an autism spectrum disorder? If you do, and are willing to share how that has affected both the individual's and his/her family's lives, please do.
I look forward to your comments.