"From 2011 to 2012, 1 in 50 school-age children had a diagnosed autism spectrum disorder according to their parents--up from 1 in 86 in 2007....
[This] study provides growing evidence that [the] U.S. is underestimating the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder," Michael Rosanoff, associate director of public health research and scientific review at the non-profit Autism Speaks, said in an e-mail to HuffPost.Last year, the CDC revised its go-to estimate of the prevalence of autism in the U.S., saying it now affects 1 in 88 children, up from 1 in 150 in 2002. That is the estimate most widely used by health care providers, public health officials and media outlets when quantifying the prevalence of autism in the U.S., and came from the CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which collected data from health and special education records of 8-year-olds living in 14 communities across the country in 2008.
"Because the two estimates used different approaches to identify cases, they are not directly comparable, but Rosanoff believes the new parental-report data suggests that "1 in 88" figure is low."
The alarming spike in autism in recent years has sent doctors and parents on a search for answers. And while many controversies have erupted around the issue, none have gotten us any closer to a definitive explanation, and many key concerns remain unexplored. Moving beyond the distractions of the vaccine debate, The Autism Puzzle is the first book to address the compelling evidence that it is the pairing of environmental exposures with genetic susceptibilities that may be impacting the brain development of children.
Journalist Brita Belli brings us into the lives of three families with autistic children, each with different ideas about autism, as she explores the possible causes. She interprets for readers compelling evidence that environmental toxins--including common exposures from chemicals mounting in our everyday lives--may be sparking this disorder in vulnerable children. Belli calls for an end to the use of hazardous materials--like toxic flame retardants used in electronics and furniture, which have been banned elsewhere, insisting that we cannot afford to experiment with our children. The Autism Puzzle puts a human face on the families caught in between the debates, and offers a refreshingly balanced perspective.
"The Autism Puzzle unlocks many alarming truths about this worldwide epidemic and raises the deeper question: What are you going to do about it?"--Dr. Bob Sears, author of The Autism Book
208 pages. 2013