The Rise Of Autism Spectrum Diagnoses And Its Impact On Services Offered To Young Adults
Written by Craig Rogers,
in Section Therapeutic News
Each day, we come across yet another story about issues related to children and young adults with autism.
More and more autism spectrum diagnoses are being made about these struggling young adults and, as a result, awareness is growing. The more awareness that is being garnered, the more guidance there will be to help parents better understand their teen’s unique behaviors and needs. Various types of services offer options for parents of teens with autism. However, what happens when these struggling young adults get older, and want to move on to college and establishing a career?
Increase in Autism?
The first thing that needs to be addressed is whether or not there really is an increase in autistic young adults, or if this alleged rise in the autistic spectrum diagnoses is just a result of there being more awareness about autism. To most experts in the field, the biggest factors that account for the rise in autism prevalence are the shifting definitions of the disorder and the growing awareness. Several decades after the introduction of autism as a valid diagnosis, professionals are still engaging in “diagnostic substitution,” wherein they move people from one category to another. In many cases, they are moving people from the diagnostic category of “mental retardation” to “autistic,” thus accounting for the rise of autistic spectrum diagnoses. How accurate is this diagnostic change, and is it doing these people more harm than good?
As it is, more than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. The prevalence of autism in US children increased by 119.4% from 2000 to 2010, making autism the fastest-growing developmental disorder.
So what can be done?
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