The rising rate of autism over the last decade is alarming, but there is a silver lining to this cloud.

We’ve all heard those thought-provoking commercials on radio and television that compare your odds of doing certain things in life to the chances of a child being born with autism.  For example, one commercial examines the odds of a person becoming a popular music artist and then pits it against the staggeringly more likely odds of having an autistic child.  Today, the United States Center for Disease Control put fuel on the fire by updating a key statistic used in a lot of these advertisements.  Now, 1 out of every 88 children will be born autistic, a 78% increase since the year 2000.

Another updated statistic is even more interesting and alarming.  Boys have a much higher chance of being born with the disorder at 1 in 54.  Girls have just a 1 in 252 chance.  Still, terribly good odds, but the boys are much higher statistically speaking.

It should be noted that the CDC makes these odds based on less-than-perfect data.  For one thing, there are tons of children who have the disorder but have never been officially diagnosed.  The actual statistics are based on averages.  The state of Alabama has the lowest rate of just 1 in 210 children.  Utah has the highest rating, with 1 in 47 of all children being autistic.  The rise has been pretty amazing since the year 2000, when the CDC reported that 1 in 150 of children born would be autistic.

Now, autism is a real problem, and Common Sense Conspiracy wants all autistic children and adults to get the help that they need to lead a good and productive life.  However, it is important to point out that some of these statistics are a little deceiving.  While it seems like the autism rate is rising at an alarming rate, the truth is that what is rising is the diagnosis rate.  This is a good thing.  More children in this decade are being diagnosed, which means they are probably receiving better care than in past decades when hundreds of cases went unreported.  The “rise” is actually the result of good practices by parents and doctors where children are diagnosed earlier and more often.  Now, most autistic children are recognized by doctors around age three.

On the other hand, it means that this rate has probably been present for many years before now.  Science and medicine has failed to provide any conclusive data about what causes the disorder, although some have tried to blame it on pollution.  Whatever the real reason for the disorder, it’s a great thing that more children are being diagnosed earlier, which means better care in the long run.  Don’t let these alarming statistics scare you.  In the grand scheme of things, the “rising” rate of autism is a positive thing, no matter how scary the numbers might be.

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