Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have within the past decade or two emerged as a much more important concern in behavioral health than in prior decades. Twenty years ago (written in 2016) autism seemed to be a very rare occurrence involving severely incapacitated people. Currently, it is a very widespread occurrence, involving a range of people from very high functioning to severely impaired. By any measure the number of people now identified as "on the spectrum" has exploded. There can be no question but what many of these people are like others who twenty years ago simply would not have been diagnosed. It is a matter of debate whether the vast increase in people recognized to be "on the spectrum" is due to expanded diagnosis or actually more people with this affliction. There can be no question but what recognition of Autism Spectrum Disorders has expanded the numbers of people recognized to be "on the spectrum." We still do not know for sure if the actually occurrence is greater. Our impression is that the actual occurrence is greater but we do not have proof of that. If greater, we do not know why.
With this increase in recognized Autism, much has also been accomplished in response to Autism, to help most of those bearing this diagnosis to live happy, productive lives. Unfortunately, commercial interests have distorted the known facts and manipulated what is not known in order to enrich themselves. Our full article on this topic addresses that problem.
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Last Update May 24, 2017