While I love my little brother with all my heart and wouldn’t have him any other way, can I just point out that a few years ago, the percentage of children with autism was about 1 in 300, and now it’s dropped to 1 in 88?
It’s been at around 1 in 120/150 since the early 2000s. So it was awhile ago that it was 1 in 300.
Also, this is because of better diagnostic techniques. It’s a GOOD thing. You realize that, right?
Edited to add: I was evaluated for the first time in 1992. It was a full two years later that Asperger’s would be added to the DSM. I know a lot of doctors until the very late 90s and early 2000s were still under the impression that autistic=nonverbal, and that’s very clearly NOT the case always. I was finally diagnosed last year, and I’m glad I finally have an answer.
I was evaluated as a toddler, in the early 1980’s. And I was non-verbal. The speech pathologist who saw me knew nothing about autism and did not use the actual criteria in his evaluation. He decided that I could speak, I just didn’t want to.
I was correctly diagnosed at 28, in the year 2010. (Well…I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, even though I actually fit the criteria for Autistic Disorder as a child. But my verbal abilities are presently consistent with Asperger’s.) I was autistic the entire time; I just wasn’t counted.
What’s more, I have solid reasons to suspect that grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents of mine have been on the spectrum. As the syndrome was not described until the 1940’s, and even then there was no systematic effort made to find these children, needless to say that if you were autistic in the 1870’s, you weren’t diagnosed. The word didn’t exist. Literally countless people have been living out their lives unidentified, for centuries.
And there is still this kind of ignorance among professionals, especially regarding women and adults. I had to explain, to a pediatric nurse, this year, that autism does not mean that somebody “just can’t understand anything.” I’ve had to explain that it is not a form of mental retardation, that it does not mean that somebody will never be able to do anything, or that somebody “cannot communicate.” Some of this from health care professionals. Year 2012. It’s astonishing and scary.