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Is Autism the "new" ADD?

I saw a few Autism related postings and I got to thinking...

Is Autism/the Autism spectrum overdiagnosed? Or are we just able to classify symptoms better?

I remember not too long ago when anybody and everybody's kid was being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Any small sign of extra energy or not concentrating resulted in a diagnosis and pill dispenstion.

There have been (unarguably) a greater number of kids diagnosed with Autism, Autism-like behavior, etc. But, is this because there is a greater number of these kids or has the label of "Autism spectrum" grown too large? Many behaviors that can classify a child are ones that in the past we might have just seen as our child's 'quirks'. Are we as a society concentrating too hard on labeling for Autism?


Feel free to also discuss that if medical labels are overused in general by everyone today...

*Not offense to those w/Autisc kids, not challenging the diagnosis.

 
ozarkgirl3

Asked by ozarkgirl3 at 4:25 PM on May. 22, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

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This question is closed.
Answers (24)
  • I think it is starting to head in that direction. I don't know that i'd call it "overdiagnosed" just yet, but i got a phamplet from my daughter's pediatrician about "signs of autism" and some of the things they had on there, all i could do was shake my head and wonder why in the world they would call that a "sign of autism"

    infact, my daughter fit more characteristics on the "autism" side then on the "normal" side, but she's definitly not. She's a bright, happy little girl, and the doctor agrees that she is ADVANCED for her age, definitly NOT behind. Yes, she's got her quirks, but she is far from being autistic.

    There are definitly legitamate cases out there, but I think people can be too quick to jump on these disease band wagons (other then autism, any disease) because it means they can explain all their problems away and "solve" it by popping some pills.
    Pudge_Pie20

    Answer by Pudge_Pie20 at 10:51 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • I dont think its overly diagnosed, I just think we have a better understanding of what Autism REALLY is now, therefore resulting in what looks like mass diagnosing of children/adults with Autism. If I remember correctly, people with autism years and years ago were just labeled as "mentally disabled". Now that we have a better understanding of Autism and what it is exactly, we can diagnose those who truly have it and not just shrug our shoulders and label them as MR.
    BEXi

    Answer by BEXi at 4:32 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • I think Autisim's a very serious diagnosis and it's not one that's given out lightly.

    I think the big issue is WHY is there a greater occurance of Autisim (and legitimate ADD) these days.
    TabathaM

    Answer by TabathaM at 4:36 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • I think it's the newest "encouraged by teachers" diagnosis. I read a board called TWoP where they dissect tv shows in tremendous detail. Guaranteed that every single reality show has one cast member every season that there are dozens of people "diagnosing" them with autism or Asperger's based on nothing but the edited version of the person they see on tv for 22 minutes/week. (Countered. of course, by dozens of people insisting that the ANTM contestant who really did have Asperger's was faking it)

    I don't think it's only autism/Aspies, because the same is true of bi-polar and depression, but people are quicker to suggest it for kids than those other two.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:36 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • NotPanicking...."I don't think it's only autism/Aspies, because the same is true of bi-polar and depression, but people are quicker to suggest it for kids than those other two. "

    EXACTLY where I was going with this question! I ahve also noticed a LOT of new "bi-polar" diagnosises or "anxiety" disorder...and I have seriously started to question where all this is coming from and headed...

    TabathaM "I think the big issue is WHY is there a greater occurance of Autisim (and legitimate ADD) these days"

    But ADD diagnosis is actually DECLINING..so what does that mean? That we are better at finding more legitimate characteristics of the disease? Or that is was previously overdiagnosed in a backlash against underdiagnosis/more awareness of the disease?
    ozarkgirl3

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 5:15 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Bexi...great answer! Kind of an off-shoot/extender of the question...

    If you think its just more recognized than before, AND we know a lot of behaviors can be labeled inside the spectrum, Do you think that its a "good" thing that the label is there? Or do you think it affects people negativly to have that label? (assuming for the "light"/high functioning cases...)
    ozarkgirl3

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 5:18 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Its too easy to diagnose a troubled child as either ADD or Autistic and its just as easy to ask for pills to control the kid....but its wrong. Kids are overmedicated now.
    How about a good diet and at least 10 hours of sleepand a quiet peaceful houshold? No loud music,no violent video games,no violent movies. Quiet time every day in which the kids sit with a glass of milk(The calming effects of calcium are proven) and a book? That would quiet the most twitchy kid , I think.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:22 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Anon :22...all that sounds great. However, it will do NOTHING to help an ADHD or Autisitc kid overall. There's no cure for either of those disorders.

    I will agree that there is some overmedication. But you can't MAKE kid sleep 10 hours. Unless you have ONE kid and no one does anything, you won't have a quiet peaceful household all the time. Loud music, violent games and movies shouldn't be around kids anyway, that's a no brainer, kids have milk and even their daily allowance doesn't calm an ADHD kid (it has the opposite effect on ADHD, by the way) and if a kid has a problem with attention a book isn't going to do much when they physically can't sit still and pay attention!

    And part of what you listed is necessary for an Autistic kid (quiet, calm) while some of the other is lost on those with the most serious cases.

    From your post, you've not dealt with either.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:18 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Oz:
    "But ADD diagnosis is actually DECLINING..so what does that mean? That we are better at finding more legitimate characteristics of the disease? Or that is was previously overdiagnosed in a backlash against underdiagnosis/more awareness of the disease? "

    Physicians are often reluctant to make a diagnosis of ADD now because of the backlash, yes, and unfortunitely that means legitimate cases get over looked, particularly amongst the Inattentive Subtypes.

    Also because of social stigmas parents often avoid allowing their children to be correctly diagnosed. With my own daughter, (and I'm educated in psychology I knew the signs and deep down knew she had ADD) I had her screend for EVERYTHING else under the sun before I allowed her to be looked at for ADD because I was terrified of her being labelled that way because of how the way ADD kids have been portrayed during the period where they were over diagnosed.
    TabathaM

    Answer by TabathaM at 6:19 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • ... cont'.

    BUT still looking around at schools and daycares and studying children personally I see more cases of kids with ADD/ADHD symptoms most often going untreated, then ever before.
    TabathaM

    Answer by TabathaM at 6:20 PM on May. 22, 2009