1 in 32 - The Facts Behind the Headlines in Utah Autism Prevalence Rates
Utah’s new claim to fame is the highest prevalence rate of autism in 2008 among the fourteen United States communities studied by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in their autism prevalence study. The principal investigator, Judith Pinborough-Zimmerman discussed the results of the study in a press release on Thursday March 29th. Utah’s statistics were 1 in 47 for incidence of autism in both boys and girls and 1 in 32 for boys. These numbers mean that in Utah the prevalence of autism increased 157 percent in Utah in a six-year period. The release of these data rekindled the debate as whether these data reflect increased incidence or simply increased identification. Educators who report seeing more and more students with autism in our classrooms will probably agree with Dr. Pinborough-Zimmerman’s conclusion. “Regardless of the reasons for the changes reported in this study, increases of this magnitude will have a significant long-term impact on our communities and families”, and I would add schools as being highly affected as well.
We have included in this issue some of the most relevant articles on this newly released data.
The first article is about a research study of 7,000 children with autism in California that found 1 in 10 kids displayed dramatic improvement within a couple years. These children progressed from being highly impacted by their autism to being characterized as “high functioning.” Read more. . .
The second article deals with a research from University College London concerning perceptual advantages in individuals with autism. When given difficult perceptual tasks, the individuals who did not have autism were overwhelmed. The individuals with autism, however, never failed, even when the tasks became “maddenly difficult.” The researchers concluded that what we consider deficits may actually be “trade-offs,” a mixture of blessings and burdens. Read more . . .
The last is an article from West Virginia on the need for more training for teachers of students with autism. Read more. . . .
Check our e-journal for more information coming out soon.
Cathy Longstroth, Specialist, UPDC (Utah Personnel Development Center)