Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

2 Bumps

Why is autism on the rise?

I just saw a commercial that said there has been a 600% increase in cases in the last 20 years. I don't know a lot about autism so I'm wondering why there are so many more cases now.


Asked by scout_mom at 5:28 PM on Jul. 12, 2011 in Kids' Health

Level 41 (125,190 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • Our youngest child is 33. When he was in school, autism was unheard of. The behavior was unknown at that time, and there were very few children who needed special ed classes. Something has happened since then, and I don't think anyone knows what it is that has happened. I also think that there is a great hesitancy on the part of those who could find out the answers to even try. It has to be either something we are eating or that is otherwise being introduced to our nervous systems. I have even wondered if it has anything to do with the number of induced births that we see nowadays, which was also unheard of 30 years ago. Something is going on--of that much I am certain.

    Answer by NannyB. at 6:12 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • I live in an area where two schools had add infrastructure to accommodate children diagnosed with severe Autism. According to the teachers Aid who had worked with severe autistic students for almost 15 years the number of students has increased. These are non-verbal students. So the statement about the diagnosis criteria doesn't apply to this.

    Answer by Cafemomoftwo217 at 5:40 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • They changed the criteria for what constitutes autism. The number of people who would have been diagnosed under the criteria used 20 years ago hasn't changed significantly.

    Answer by SWasson at 5:30 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • Two major theories, that the more you study about them, the more they seem plausible.
    Vaccines and Genetically Modified Foods.
    Both have greatly increased in the past twenty years. I had maybe three vaccines when I was a baby. My own kids had about seven. Now there's more than 50 vaccines babies are routinely given, in multi-combos, and no one really knows how they affect us.
    Also, we are the LARGEST consumer and producer of genetically modified foods. Europe and Australia have banned them. We have the highest incidence of autism, "adult-onset" diabetes affecting young children, and infant mortality in the modern world. Sad, isn't it?

    Answer by LoreleiSieja at 5:37 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • But to answer the question, nobody knows what causes autism, so nobody knows the reason for the increase.

    Also - ADD and ADHD are NOT considered being on the spectrum. They are a totally separate diagnosis.

    Answer by missanc at 6:09 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • I don't believe that more people have autism, but that there is a much better understanding of what it is, so doctors are better at diagnosing it.

    Answer by hill_star03 at 5:32 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • It isn't that it is on the rise, it is that the definitions of Autism and Autism disorders are more defined than ever before and more people that 20 years ago were just considered "odd", "weird", "anti-social" - now have a definition under the extremely large Autism umbrella.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 5:37 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • Autism IS on the rise - it's gone from like 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100 in the last 20 years. Granted, some of that may be due to more knowledge, but nowhere near all of that!!

    Answer by missanc at 6:08 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • Two major theories, that the more you study about them, the more they seem plausible. Vaccines and Genetically Modified Foods.

    It has been PROVEN that vaccines DO NOT cause autism. The "doctor" that made that claim is in a lot of trouble because his studies were unethical.

    I did do my research before having my child vaccinated.  As for genetically modified food, I don't know anything about that.  But I agree with what hill_star03 said


    Answer by TARARENEE at 6:23 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • Thanks, SWasson. That makes much more sense. (c:

    Comment by scout_mom (original poster) at 5:31 PM on Jul. 12, 2011