Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Time Magazine: Is the Autism Epidemic a Myth?

A Time Magazine article this month talks to anthropologist Richard Grinker, author of Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism.

Excerpt:"BROADER DEFINITIONS Each successive edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--the bible of mental health--has revised the criteria for identifying autism in ways that tend to include more people...Grinker and others say 50% to 75% of the increase in diagnoses is coming in these milder categories...

MORE HELP, LESS STIGMA As services have become more available for kids with autism, more parents are seeking a diagnosis they would have shunned 30 years ago...Doctors are also more willing to apply the diagnosis to help a patient. "I'll call a kid a zebra if it will get him the educational services I think he needs," National Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist Judith Rapoport told Grinker.

FINANCIAL INCENTIVES In some states, parents of children with autism can apply for Medicaid even if they are not near the poverty line. A diagnosis of mental retardation doesn't always offer this advantage."

Is the Autism Epidemic a Myth?
Autism and Diagnostic Substitution

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