What is happening to the children?
Forty years ago, it was hard to find a person with autism, says Dr. Arnold Gold, a longtime Englewood pediatric neurologist and professor at Columbia University Medical School. Not anymore. The number of children in New Jersey classified with autism by the state Department of Education has multiplied more than 30-fold in the last 14 years: from 234 in 1991 to 7,400 last year.1
This is an epidemic for which no one has an answer as to its cause. What are the characteristics of the epidemic?
“Autism disorders are characterized by three key problems: a broken communication system that often affects both listening and speaking, limited ability to form social relationships, and highly focused, repetitive behavior.”2
This is terrifying for parents and other family members whose children have fallen victim. It appears that with early and aggressive intervention, many of the children can recover and lead productive live.
But what is causing this disease that is spreading at such an explosive rate? The experts don’t yet know what is the cause.
When Dr. Leo Kanner first identified “early infantile autism,” more than 60 years ago, he blamed parents — particularly mothers — for depriving their children of love and affection. The children, he said “were kept neatly in a refrigerator which didn’t defrost.” They were autistic because they withdrew to seek comfort in solitude. Science has discredited this theory. Autism is now understood as a disorder of the brain’s development, fueled in part by genetics and in part by the environment. But researchers still can’t say what causes autism — and how it could be prevented. 3
I notice they say that “science discredited” Kanner’s theory, yet science really doesn’t have the answer. They admit that environment is partly to blame, but is it a small or large part of the blame? Is this disease related to the progress of a brave world? Progress in technology and other areas is not intrinsically wrong, but could it be that it coupled with our society’s departure from God that is to blame? Can science determine if our fast-paced lifestyles, which has fostered broken and disconnected homes, where children are raised as much by television as they are by parents, is to blame? I certainly don’t know and am not accusing anyone of being bad parents. But I don’t trust that we are always getting the truth from “science”. It’s like trying to get answers about ADHD and where the epidemic is coming from? Is it cultural? Is something in our modern culture triggering something in the brain of these small children? Is it technology? Is it diet? Is it emotional disconnection? Is it the vacant fathers? I am asking more questions than anyone has answers for. I don’t know how to answer this, but I do know that God is often the answer. I know that He exist and that He gives help to those who seek Him. Let’s seek our God who sent His Son to give us life eternal. Let’s seek our God who came to give us “abundant life.”
The numbers of those diagnosed with autism is growing fast. In 2013 I saw a stat that said 1 in 110. In 2014, I saw a stat from Autism Speaks saying the number is 1 in 68. Something tells me the numbers are made up.
May God bless you.
1. “In Autism’s Grip”. (Link not working for this source)