Paragon Consulting Services  

Specializing in Autism,
Behavior & Communication


Diane F. Black, M.Ed., BCBA


(302) 530-3999
Diane Black, M.Ed.

Is Autism an Epidemic?

Current studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 1 out of every 88 children in the United States are being diagnosed with autism. With statistics that high, we are now seeing over one million children directly affected by autism. The effects of autism are prevalent – that much is true. So, is it safe to assume that Autism is an epidemic?

What has caused this recent “epidemic”? Columbia University graduate, Dr. Peter Bearman, was recently funded by the National Institutes of Health to conduct a study that was set to determine the cause of the growing epidemic. His studies show that only around half of the causes of autism can be explained, even with increased detection, diagnosis, and awareness. The basis of the studies encouraged us, as a nation, to push forward and expand our knowledge about autism as well as try to contain its effects. In order to do this, we must continue to fund more extensive research, especially branching out into the study of possible environmental factors. The answers about controlling this epidemic need to be found if we want to tame the “autism epidemic”.

The exact cause of autism is not exactly known, but current research shows that possible causes stem from genetics, infections, and problems during birth. While we may not be able to determine exact causes, the symptoms are becoming clearer at earlier stages in life. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with verbal communication
  • Difficulty with social interaction (preferring to play alone)
  • Difficulty adjusting to new routines or occurrences
  • Repetitive body movements or patterns

Even though every baby develops at its own pace in life, some early signs that should be evaluated by your pediatrician are listed below.

If your child does not:

  • Babble or show joint attention by 1 year of age
  • Make any sort of verbiage by 16 months of age
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Respond well to other’s facial expressions/does not make many facial expressions of his/her own

The average cost America spends on autism each year is $126 billion. This rate more than triples the funding towards autism from just six years ago. The issues with autism are spreading, and if America cannot get the proper funding and research, the “autism epidemic” is going to continue to spread to our children. Once again, let’s look at the recent numbers. 1 in every 88 children diagnosed is a serious issue. America needs to develop a strategy for combating this epidemic, and we need to do it soon.

If you are in need of a consultation for your child with autism at your home or school please contact Paragon Consulting Services today.


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