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November 11, 2008

IS Autism Being Over-Diagnosed?

Came across an interesting article that mentioned the concerns of over-diagnosis.  Queensland Australia’s Education Minister, Dean Wells said,

Some paediatricians are giving false diagnoses at the urging of parents so students receive more resources from the Education Department.

“More important for me is making sure that we are not falsely labelling students and thereby consigning them to a lifetime of misdiagnosis.”Healing… Through the Eyes of Autism. › Create New Post — WordPress

Savage thinks there’s a problem with over-diagnosis.

Leary does too.

The criteria for autism is broader nowadays, but I don’t believes doctors are out there handing out the autism card like its Halloween candy.

Autism’s definitely not the end of the world, but I don’t think people would intentionally ask for the diagnosis as Wells suggests.

At least, I hope that’s not what’s happening.

I came across a post interestingly titled Is Autism the New Gay? You may know the blogger, Susan Senator, author of Making Peace with Autism: One Families Story of Struggle, Discovery, and Unexpected Gifts (Trumpeter Books, 2005) or you may not.

Her post is over two years old when the autism stats were a little lower, and the resources were even more limited.

The closing paragraph says,

The problem with too many people on the autism spectrum? It draws away resources — financial and yes, perhaps even compassion — from those who truly are. I’d like there to be infinite money and love in the world to encompass my Natty, Woody, and Keanu, embracing them in their struggles, but there just is not. And I don’t want Nat to get less of anything because Woody and Keanu have sopped it all up for themselves, only for people to then look at them and say, “Autism/Asperger’s? Big deal!” It is a big deal. My guy struggles daily and will always struggle just to survive in this world. He needs all the help he can get. Woody and Keanu? Maybe they need help but it’s a different animal altogether.

Reading about this concern from another parent who’s also living with autism gives me cause to give the matter more thought.

There is something to be said about compassion going to the wayside due to the rising number of diagnoses every year.

Are people becoming desensitized?

After all, there were other folks who drank the anti-autism Kool-Aid long before Savage and Leary uttered a word (twisted, I know).

I’m so tired of the so-called “autism” crisis. While I’m sure they’re are legitimately identifiable traits and disorders specific to such a diagnosis, this latest disease of the month seems (to me) to be the upper-crust version of ADHD–also overdiagnosed. Parents, start parenting an quit pawning-off your unmanageable kids to the social service safety net!!

Sent by John Brownstein | 2:56 PM ET | 08-21-2007

Hooray for John Brownstein! Shy, introverted, or odd is the new Autism.
We not all be born to be social giants.

Sent by Mike | 3:21 PM ET | 08-21-2007

I found this poll, and 34% of the poll takers saw autism as a “fad”.

This week’s poll: Is autism overdiagnosed?

July 21st, 2008, 12:58 pm

Total Votes: 3193

So, what can those of us who’ve been living with autism for a while do to squelch the rising negativity?

How can we ban together when autism is viewed as the daily special at the local eatery?

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