Something remarkable happened this fall but I bet you didn’t know about it. The CDC updated its latest research on autism prevalence and other disabilities in the U.S for the last two years. Their findings are pretty shocking: 1 in 36 autism cases for kids aged 3 to 17.
- Verbatim from the CDC: “During 2014–2016, the prevalence of children ever diagnosed with any developmental disability significantly increased, from 5.76% in 2014 to 6.99% in 2016″ (italics added). That “significantly” is a scientific term. “Statistically significant” means NOT due to chance alone. That means it is an isse worth studying. If we have 73 million children in the U.S., that means we’ve gone from 4.2 million to 5.1 million kids with a developmental disability.
- The number of kids with autism went up from a rate of 2.24% to 2.76%. IF you do the math (and I did), that works out to 1 in 36 autism cases in children diagnosed with autism, an increase from the 2012 rate of 1 in 68.
- Kids with “other” developmental delays went up from 3.57% to 4.55%. That’s a huge jump as well.
- Boys had a higher chance of having autism or developmental disability than girls, working out to 1 in 27 chance of autism in boys.
That’s not actually the big news here. The big news it that although this data is listed under the “Data Briefs” section of the CDC website (which, by the way, there is no tab or menu item for), it is NOT listed anywhere on their autism page, nor on the autism statistics page, nor on the CDC homepage, which is mostly dedicated to the flu vaccine. Curiously, they stopped listing new data for autism prevalence stats way back in 2012.
Nor will you find it on heir “latest news” page. However, you WILL find this on that same data page:
“There was not a significant change in the prevalence of diagnosed autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability over the same time period.”
And while over a two-year span, that increase in autism rates may not technically be significant, it is if you go back and look over the last 17 years. Autism rates have increased from 1 in 150 to 1 in 36. That’s half a generation! Go back a little further, and you’ll be stunned. See the chart below, prepared by Epidemic Answers:
The picture shows it all, including extrapolated autism rates if growth continues as it has for the last two decades. The 20-year increase alone is alarming, and the numbers are even more staggering the further back you go. Autism used to be a 1 in 2500 diagnosis. Better tools for diagnosing? Well, ok, that can get you part way there, but where are all the disabled autistic adults? There were NO autistic children in my entire 4-class grade when I was a kid, and now there are 1-2 autistic students in every elementary class? A few years back, my niece had FOUR children with autism in her SINGLE first-grade class.
What about the growing demand for special ed teachers? Or the waiting lists for therapists?
Not only that, but the rise in developmental disabilities overall is alarming. And our boys are taking the brunt of all this. What will to the future of our country?
And while I don’t like to talk politics, the fact is that many of us know that Medicare, Social Security, and Disability face a huge dilemma: deny our kids now, or deny them when they grow up. There’s just not enough for every child that will be diagnosed with a disability through adulthood, no matter which political party you support.
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What’s Really Causing the Rise in Autism Rates
My research has shown me that what’s happening with the 1 in 36 autism rate is that genetics is making children vulnerable to conditions caused by toxins. They’re cellular, DNA and biochemical damage mean they can’t process toxins out of their bodies and they can properly oxygenate their cells. These are two common pathway to autism, but in no way are they the only two, which is why autism is so difficult to treat. Finding the right pathway that’s impaired is your best route to helping your child, but it’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack. I wrote in 2012 and 2014 about the things that contribute to autism.
That said, there are many environmental factors that contribute:
Unhealthy Gut Biome & Autoimmune Issues
Yes, it’s linked. Whether it’s leaky gut, or diarrhea/constipation cycle, or inability to potty train, all of these things are linked. An unhealthy gut is caused by or can cause autoimmune issues. An unhealthy gut furthered injured by sugar intake, parasites, bad bacteria,
These don’t just cause brain damage once things like heavy metals attach to the brain, they can cause improper development of novel cells and structures – the kind you don’t learn about Bio 101 classes. The human brain is EXTREMELY complex.
Yes, Mom and Dad, it’s your fault. Or rather, the stuff that comes from you, your parents, and back a few generations, manifests in your child. And if Dr. Bock is right in “Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders” and the root of AHDH, allergies, asthma, and autism are all branches of the same root.
Other Toxic Insults Increase Autism Rates
Neurotoxins aren’t the only things that build up in your child and hurt them. Autism rates continue to rise because so many other toxic products are available to us that may not affect us too much but are quite harmful to our children. All kinds of toxins can have implications. From glyphosate in your breast milk to aluminum in your vaccines to Pitocin during labor, these things pile up, one on top of another, particularly when a child’s detox system isn’t functioning, and they’re not fully developed yet.
What’s Helping The Symptoms of Autism
Conversely, over the years, I’ve had time to consider and think about what can help autism. This is not to say that you can or cannot “cure” autism, but treating medical conditions that harm your child is always a positive. After the TACA Conference, I went to in the spring, which featured Dr. Usman, an expert in this field, I believe that you should do the protocol as follows:
1. Begin By Healing the Gut
Arguably, the most difficult part of the process, Dr. Usman was adamant that she’d changed her opinion on healing because she was concerned that heavy metals released during detox were accumulating in the small intestine. This means a whole lot of things, and is tricky to discern but if your child has diarrhea, constipation, eczema, dark circles, behavioral issues and other physical issues they can mean the gut isn’t ready yet.
To do this, you’ll need an elimination diet (most reliable method of testing) for your child’s food sensitivities and allergies (two different things). Then you might want to stick to a specific special diet, such as GAPS.
2. Detox Your Home
While you are healing your child’s gut, it’s time to take stock of your home: cleaning products, cookware, lawn care, paint & supplies if remodeling, bath, beauty, skincare and feminine products, your water and more.
3. Add Supplements & Probiotics
Once you get the junk out of your child’s diet, you’ll need to take measures to both heal the gut and reinforce the supplements they are missing out. One of the best ways to get a handle on what your kids need is to work with a Biomed doctor, that is, someone who is skilled in treating autism and other autoimmune issues (such as PANDAS, Lyme disease, etc.) with supplements, probiotics, enzymes and more. You can also work with a naturopath or homeopath, but it’s critical that whoever you do work with understands that there are biomedical issues that affect kids with autism. Your child will probably need a precise cocktail but almost certainly will have some common items, such as probiotics, enzymes, magnesium, fish oil and more.
4. Detox Heavy Metals and Other Items
Heavy metals, such as mercury and aluminum, are tricky for kids to detox – not just kids with autism, but kids with MTHFR gene mutation (like most kids with Down syndrome) and others. Back in the day, the ONLY way to detox heavy metals was chelation, which needs to be done quite precisely and has risks. I don’t do high maintenance precision (it’s Embracing Imperfect, eh?) but there are new ways to do it that allow detox as easy as homeopathy and supplements. You may want to test for metals with a company with blood tests, as well, to find which you need to do. For example, aluminum can be tricky to detox. Drinking Fiji Water in addition to your detox protocol may assist. Some heavy metal options on the table today include forms of zeolite, glutathione, and chlorella.
5. Relieve Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is when your cells are not getting enough oxygen and it’s common in autism. Some options for this are hyperbaric oxygen therapy and supplements such as Protandim. This is a new area we will be addressing.
6. Specialty Therapies and Protocols
Quite honestly, all of the above will take some time to unroll but you might find you want something special for your child. For example, my daughter Amelia has some movement problems and a terrible hunch. I’m looking into some Neurotherapy and compressive clothing to address these issues, or perhaps an exercise or martial arts program.
7. Take Care of Yourself
This should be up top, but if you don’t take a few moments a day to do YOU, you’ll crash and burn. There are so many things you can do here but you need to have some moments of respite in each day. For me, daily prayer helps, as well as reading Scripture – and I do those quite frequently.
If you’re like me, this sounds like an AWFUL lot of difficulty on top of regular day to day therapies, IEPs, school issues, doctor visits and so on. That’s why I created the Autism Planning Workbook, which I use to organize all my kids’ diets, protocols, IEPs and more. Learn more at https://embracingimperfect.com/autismparents/
Autism rates are again on the rise, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do something to help your child…and maybe even prevent your future children from getting an autism diagnosis.
Books That Can Help You Help Your Child…and Yourself
The following books truly helped me understand this.
This is the first book I ever read, and discovered the underlying issues between all these problems:
The book that helped us start our diet journey:
An excellent by Temple Grande on how to motivate your autistic child. I don’t agree 100% with her, but it’s still full of EXCELLENT information:
Want to understand what’s going on in your kid’s head and help teach life skills? This is a must read!
This Bible study helped me in SO MANY WAYS, especially since it’s so targeted:
Unlocking the Treasure: A Bible Study for Moms Entrusted with Special-Needs Children