[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Autism Speaks responds to recent publications citing autism clusters in California
NEWS RELEASE 22-JAN-2010
NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 21, 2010) –Two recent, separate publications identified regions with higher than expected numbers of autism cases – or clusters – in California. Using data collected by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) on 2.5 million births including almost 10,000 autism cases from 1996-2000, investigators at UC Davis uncovered several clusters of elevated risk for autism. Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, reviewed these studies and found that the majority of these clusters were found to be strongly associated with higher parental education and, to a lesser extent, with parents of older ages. It is thought that parents with higher levels of education may have better access to the regional diagnostic and service centers in California, as the DDS relies on parents actively seeking services. Thus the distribution of cases is likely influenced by proximity to specialty research and service centers.
However, demographic factors, alone, may not explain the increased numbers of cases in these clusters. The authors propose that other factors, including environmental exposures, may play a role but warrant further investigation to understand their contribution to autism etiology.
“Examination of clusters can help us understand the factors that have led to in increase in autism prevalence over time,” said Autism Speaks’ Chief Science Officer, Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D.
Similar to the UC Davis study, a second study using data collected by the California DDS, which was conducted by investigators from Columbia University identified a significant cluster of increased risk for autism as well as a set of lower risk clusters in and around Northern Los Angeles. However, rather than looking at incidence of cases by DDS Regional Center catchment area, Mazumdar et. al. examined more than 11,500 autism cases among four million births by place of birth. This approach was used to avoid potential bias caused by parents moving to neighborhoods that improve access to specialty autism services.
“Our paper is different,” Columbia University co-author Peter Bearman, Ph.D. said. “It identifies a large and stable primary cluster for autism based on residence at birth that is observed over many years and which crosses over regional center boundaries.”
The primary cluster accounted for approximately 3 percent of new autism cases in California each year from 1993-2000. While the primary cluster was found to be in an area of higher socioeconomic status than comparison regions, this factor did not fully account for the increased cases of autism in this region.
“Our findings point strongly to the idea that a local process is associated with the increased risk of autism. Such a local process could be either an environmental factor or a social influence factor, or both,” noted Bearman.
Both publications add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the distribution of autism cases differs across different regions. While the exact causes of the clustering in California are unknown, ongoing studies exploring environmental exposures and social factors will be useful in providing answers. ###
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception only five short years ago, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $131 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families through 2014. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks also supports the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and an award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council which has received over $200 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a community grant program and much more. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world for their commitment to global autism advocacy.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.