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A 45-year-old member asked:

In autism- if the increase is from diagnosis, should adult diagnosis be through the roof?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Maybe not: It may be that some children outgrow what is now being diagnosed as autism (& this may explain some of the "success" of costly interventions). It may be that kids who are otherwise developmentally disabled get the autism diagnosis for the increased $$ benefits it may offer. I've suggested autism twice at autopsy from the cerebellar changes & both times families agreed it fit. Still a mystery!
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Different era : Those who showed signs of autism many years ago were tossed into classes for the mentally retarded and or special schools without specific labels.As adults they functioned at whatever level possible, often kept at home or at state schools. Its hard to tell a tiger from other cats until you know the difference.
Dr. Linda Gourash
Pediatrics 45 years experience
It is a good question. I have long thought that most of the change is in our new recognition of persons with good language skills and autistic features. But in recent years I am suspecting that the number of children developing this disorder with features severe enough to cause problems may be increasing as well. The number of persons with the genetic vulnerability has likely not changed but their pre-natal and post-natal environment has and maybe that IS causing a real rise in affected individuals. We are just scratching the surface on the contributing factors for ASD. See Heberling et al. in Medical Hypotheses 2012 for the scientific rationale and some of the inferential thinking on causes.
Aug 13, 2013

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Last updated Aug 13, 2013

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