New cases of autism have been reported all across the US lately, raising serious questions about the reason why large numbers of children are diagnosed with the affection at very early ages. The health mystery has challenged medicine professionals all over the world and after an extended period of study, we are provided with an answer: Cases of autism are on the rise not because something dramatic happens in the US and other large areas across the world, but rather because a difference in classification and diagnosis.
It seems that no less than 97% of the new cases of autism reported in the last 15 years could be attributed to reclassification. These are the recent results of a study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.
The autism diagnosis has landed on a pretty shaky, uncertain ground, as experts, doctors and other representatives of the medical workforce chose to define a wider range of conditions as autism. The reason behind this phenomena could be a greater level of awareness and acceptance of the affection. The possibilities of an autism diagnosis among young children are high but the reality behind numbers is wrong. This leads to wrong reports and widespread worry across the continent.
According to a recent piece of research, the increase in students designated as having autism could be offset by an almost equal decrease in students diagnosed with other intellectual disabilities, often wrongly interpreted as autism.
This could happen because the set of features that define the disease is commonly found in individuals with different cognitive or neurological affections. It seems that the general definition of cognitive dysfunctions now takes shelter under the umbrella of the commonly known autism. Intellectual impairment is not necessarily autism, although doctors choose to diagnose it so.
The findings resulted from a large study held by experts from Penn State University who have analyzed the enrollment data of kids in the US from 2000 to 2010. The information was gathered from the United States Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the experts had access to data put together in the last 15 years from approximately 6.2 million children per year.
The autism spectrum disorder varies from soft symptoms to profound mental retardation, repetitive behaviors and the inability to communicate. Autism is also related to the genetic background which influences the development of an individual’s cognitive behavior. The raise in autism is only a question of semantics, related to the large variety of symptoms which can prove to be misleading for experts who rush to offer a steady diagnosis.
The tricky part is to find a way to deal with individuals who are exposed to multiple diagnosis due to the confusing variety of symptoms which fail to fall under a clear and more realistic verdict, different from autism. Special education doctors and medicine officials should reconsider the landmarks which apparently lead to a wrong database of autism affected individuals.
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