According to new statistics released by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 150 children have some form of
autism, up from previous estimates ranging from 1 in 500 to 1 in 166.
The new figures were compiled from school and medical records from
children in fourteen states across the U.S. The CDC has no
explanation for the rise in prevalance in autism, now estimated to
affect 560,000 children across the country, but this article
and others I have read over the years suggest that it is tied to
increases in vaccinations. Specifically, the MMR vaccine given at
the age of 15 months seems linked to the onset of autism in many
children. This theory has proved inconclusive, however, and
remains refuted by the CDC.
At any rate, the sheer numbers now of children and their families experiencing various effects of autism is staggering. Overall, some
17 percent of U.S. children have some form of
developmental disability. It is time to accept these facts and to
move toward social policies of inclusion and acceptance, as well as
education and life enhancement not only for the children, but for their
caregivers as well. No longer can these people be hidden behind
closed doors, not when they represent almost 1/5 of the population.