Friday, April 6, 2012

What to Make of New Autism Numbers

From Judith Warner, best known for her 2005 New York Times best-seller, Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety , and the New York Times column, "Domestic Disturbances." She is currently a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, for TIME Ideas

The latest statistics on autism prevalence are scary: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disorder now affects, with varying degrees of severity, one in 88 children, and one in 54 boys. That represents an estimated 78 percent increase since 2002, the government agency reported last week. The CDC was quick to downplay the most dramatic possible interpretations of these findings, even as Mark Roithmayr, president of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, rushed to label them evidence of “a national emergency in need of a national plan.”

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