It could well be increased identification. I recall on another board, someone posted a study that showed the rise in autism diagnoses coincided with a similarly sized decrease in the number of kids diagnosed with mental retardation or unidentified learning disabilities. So that suggests many of these kids just wouldn't have been identified as being on the autistic spectrum in the past.
And if Asperger's is included in autism rates that could be particularly true. Many high-functioning people with Asperger's wouldn't have received a diagnosis at all in the past, and would have just been considered odd or eccentric people.
Originally Posted by CrystalViolet
Actually thinking about that, I'm sure I read something about gut flora and chronic infection/overgrowth being associated with autism spectrum disorders.
I think I read something about that, and one theory is that autism is related to an autoimmune reaction that affects both the brain and the digestive tract. If this is the case and the increased incidence is genuine, it could be on the rise for the same reason allergies and other autoimmune conditions are.
Wish articles like the time one would include a link to the actual study. In that study, they not only found correlation between the mother's age and autism but also, if the father was in his forties and over and bred with a woman below thirty years of age (yes, the classic mid-life crisis man!), there's substantial risk of autism in their progeny. So, in general, parental age has significant impact on the risk of autistic children.
Other research has noted that autism runs in families. Whether nature and/or nurture is the cause, they're still not certain. Also, short pregnancy intervals impact on autism. The recommended interval time from conception to conception is over 3 years.
I was going to go into a rant when I saw the original post about bad parenting causing autism, but you summed it up nicely prplchknz. I grew up in the 70's with Tourette Syndrome, before it was on Oprah and more people knew what it was. My parents were told they were bad parents. No special classes,just stop twitching and try harder. It must have something to do with doctors being able to catagorize the illnesses now. All blood diseases used to be called "consumption".
Some people are like Slinkys.
Useless, but still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
We are the music makers,and we are the dreamers of the dreams.
Isn't it also highly inheritable? One of most recent theories for the etiology of it is Baron-Cohen's "Extreme Male Brain" theory where autism/Asperger's may be a major manifestation of activity in the few parts of the brain where there is gender difference in activity. I feel that Aspergers/Autism have become highly detectable and that it is highly heritable.
I'm not sure i'd agree with Baron-Cohen's theory based on how many adults with autism do not identify with having any particular sex. Also the rates of autistic individuals with gender identity difference are a lot higher that that of non autistic individuals. This is based on my experience with the tavistock and portman which is the uk centre for children with gender identity difference.
I could be wrong but my gut instinct would disagree with Baron-Cohen's theory.
"We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"