More people being diagnosed with autism
Autism expert Kimberly Mills told Hamilton Rotary today that the number of people being diagnosed with the disorder was increasing.
Noting that cases of autism are becoming more frequent, Dr Mills said: “Is there an epidemic of autism? If you look at the news, you might think yes. There may be an epidemic, and there may be not. Current data suggests incidences have not increased. We've just got better diagnostic tools.”
The world rate for autism was one in 150 in 2007, one in 110 in 2010 “more recently that's increased to one in 90 or one in 80,” she said.
However, she pointed out that the incidence of intellectual disability has fallen even as autism rose.
“Kids with autism used to be labelled ‘mentally retarded',” Dr Mills said. “With our better diagnostic tools, we can give it the right name.”
Dr Mills is the chairwoman of Tomorrow's Voices, Bermuda's autism early intervention centre.
She said that rigorous early intervention had proven a major factor in the treatment of autism. Founded in 2007, the group currently treats 12 to 14 children.
One point was laid to rest: fears that autism is linked to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine have turned out to be unfounded, she said.
“The Centre for Disease Control's research has shown no connection between vaccines and autism,” Dr Mills said, pointing out that the disorder manifests around the age of two to three years the same time that most children get their immunisations.
Useful web link: www.autismspeaks.org