Friday, July 22, 2011

Autism is a Fashionable Fad Diagnosis?

Autism is "Fashionable"? | Care2 Causes

Autism rates were rising when my son was diagnosed with autism 12 years ago in July of 1999. Before too long, we heard talk of an “epidemic of autism” and, over the past decade, we have watched the figures change, to 1 in 166, then to 1 in 100 and 1 in 94 in New Jersey where we live and now, according to a recent study of children in South Korea, to 1 in 38. In an editorial, Frances Allen, chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, says the reason for the increase is that autism has become a “fad diagnosis”:

The most likely cause of the autism epidemic is that autism has become fashionable — a popular fad diagnosis. Once rare and unmistakable, the term is now used loosely to describe people who do not really satisfy the narrow criteria intended for it by DSM IV. Autism now casts a wide net, catching much milder problems that previously went undiagnosed altogether or were given other labels. Autism is no longer seen as an extremely disabling condition, and many creative and normally eccentric people have discovered their inner autistic self.

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