Thursday, March 29, 2012

"And another thing...": Giving NY Times Readers a Piece of My Mind (3.29.2012)

Top of FormThe story today in The New York Times "Autism Diagnoses Rising, Study Finds", reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had determined that the likelihood of a child being given a diagnosis of autism, Asperger's syndrome or a related disorder increased more than 20 percent from 2006 to 2008. The story went on to cite a few important facts from the report:

  • In 2008, one child in 88 received such a diagnosis compared with one in 110 in 2006.
  • Researchers cannot agree on whether the trend is the result of heightened awareness, an expanding definition of autism, an actual increase in incidence or some combination of these factors.
  • Children with such diagnoses often receive extensive state-financed support and assistance -- which some experts believe have contributed to the increase
  • Doctors are working to update the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and it is expected that they will make significant changes to the definition of autism, which could reduce the number of children with this diagnosis.

I thought it was a very interesting story, but it was nothing compared to the "story" in several of the reader comments. One person hypothesized that the increase in children with autism was the result of young, unwed mothers doing drugs; another suggested that achieving, overactive parents were eager for a diagnosis of autism so they could get extra services to help their child advance; yet another referred to autism as a "designer disorder".

Oh no you didn't.

And here was my comment:

And yes, I am very proud that out of more than 220 comments, I was one of The Times Picks. Prouder still to be Sam's Mom.


  1. Very nice response. I can see why they choose you. :)

    "reduce the number of children with this diagnosis" is an interesting phrase. It tells me they won't actually chance how many people *have* autism, just change how many get identified.

    What is the use of failing to identify some of them? I suppose they will be able to save money by refusing services to those you suddenly "recover" when the new DSM comes out.


  2. Of course I meant "change", not " chance"... Sorry :P

    1. Yes, it is sad. And what is the point? It's one thing to narrow the definition of what ASD is. But maybe they have to change the whole approach to diagnosis because it is a SPECTRUM. My son's first diagnosis was "Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified". Oh, thanks that's really helpful. It's kind of a "None of the Above" approach to diagnosis. Anyway, you can tell I have a few opinions on this! :-) Thanks so much for your comment...:-)