With more children with an ASD diagnosis, school districts have created more programs that teach autistic children in more appropriate ways and with specially-trained staff; researchers have undertaken studies to understand autism’s causes and develop medications to address neurological functioning. Charlie, who would probably have been institutionalized by now had he lived in a previous generation, is a lovable teenager who lives at home, rides his bikes for miles every day and loves his school, which teaches him essential vocational and life skills.
ASDs are lifelong diagnoses and, amid the cries for figuring out why so many more children now receive an ASD diagnosis, we need to keep in sight the urgent need for more programs and services for individuals of all ages and especially adults. The new CDC figures are still considerably lower than the 1 in 38 prevalence rate found by researchers in a study of school children in South Korea, an indication that the CDC’s figures for the autism rate could increase again. There are more individuals diagnosed with ASDs and, while seeking to understand why this is now the case, we need to do everything we can to provide them with supports and services, to help them achieve their full potential.
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Photo of the author's son in 1999, around the time when he was diagnosed with autism.
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