April means a lot of things to a lot of people. April fools day; for the jokester. Easter; for the faithful. Tax day for the accountant/CPA. It will start getting warmer, also more rain, but calmer winds compared to March. A renewing energy as the winter, what little we had; becomes a distant memory.
But for many April is or is becoming the month of hope. And hope is what we really need this year. THIS is the reason why. Pennsylvania’s diagnosis rate is HIGHER than the national average. 1 in 75 children within Pennsylvania will be diagnosed on this day with autism. That seems horrible and it is but I think the biggest contributing factor (and not something the CDC takes into consideration) is the fact that many families with autism living within Pennsylvania are immigrants to the state. Our population went up over 1 million people between the 2000 and 2010 census. And I think autism itself is a reason. Pa has better than average services for the autistic community and word gets out about things like that.
Just so folks can grasp this number; the 1 in 88 is higher childhood cancers, (2 in 10,000 in 2007), AND diabetes (Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults – approximately 80 people per day – are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.). In the 2010 census there were 12,702,379 souls in Pennsylvania. Using basic math and dividing that number into 365 (days of the year) 34,820. Divided by 75 and you get 464. Shave 100 off that because we’re talking births, not adults here. THIRTY – SIX children EVERY day will be diagnosed with autism!!! That is JUST for Pennsylvania!
The psychiatric association has decided to deal with the issue by making it go away. The current (DSM-V Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnosing criteria for autism can be found HERE. The proposed changes that apparently are going to effect the ability to get the diagnosis and there for the services (code for COSTS MONEY) and the “current state of the economy” (code for NO MONEY) is how the bureaucrats, (in all fields, political, educational and most certainly MEDICAL) intend on dealing with this EXPLOSIVE epidemic. HERE is a good piece going into detail about what the concerns are.
And yet I still have hope. Mostly because even though the diagnosis rate is MUCH higher than any other diagnosis right now, our children, grandchildren, friends, students and church members are NOT fighting for their lives. Their fight is in understanding their lives. Is autism easy? It depends on how long it takes you, the caregiver to understand that autism is about compromise and being willing to learn, sometimes (at least for a while), to the exclusion of teaching.