The AAP calls over-crowded emergency rooms a crisis. (HERE)
The CDC warns about the crisis of prescription drug abuse. (HERE)
We have to wonder why no health care official ever talks about autism in these terms. I've been following this for years and I can say emphatically that they haven't. It's as if a memo was sent to everyone in any position of importance in health care: NEVER REFER TO AUTISM AS A CRISIS OR AN EPIDEMIC, no matter how bad the numbers get.
And it's worked. No one ever has.
Polio was an epidemic when one in 3,000 Americans across the population was affected, but one in every 100 children with autism doesn't cause a ripple.
Julie Gerberding, past head of the CDC--now employed as the head of the vaccine division at Merck Pharma, referred to autism as a 'serious public health problem."
Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute of Mental Health, speaking at NIH this past spring about autism said "We have responded to this AS IF IT'S A CRISIS. WE SEE THIS AS AN ENORMOUS PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE. If you look at those numbers, the increase and recognize how many of those kids will become adults, we ...also need to be thinking about how we prepare the nation for a million people who may need significant amounts of services as they are no longer cared for by their parents or as their parents are no longer around."
Health officials are very careful in choosing the words to use when talking about autism. They've lulled us into some passive state where, no matter how bad the numbers, no matter how many disabled children we're left to deal with---no one is worried. It's somehow now normal and acceptable to have your pediatrician suddenly announce to you that your child too is unfortunately autistic.
Sept 27, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was featured in a Washington Post story, Sebelius jumps into Nevada Senate race, blasts Angle autism comments (HERE)
Sebelius gave us a stunning example of an official who seems to care about autism when it’s politically advantageous to do so. She was quick to criticize Sharron Angle for her insulting comments about autism coverage, but many of us in the autism community question the manner in which Sebelius has addressed autism in her position as HHS Secretary.
Back in Apr, to recognize Autism Awareness Month, Sebelius could only manage to refer to autism as "an urgent public health challenge.
In Mar, Sebelius instructed the media to censor coverage of the heated controversy over vaccines and autism. (HERE)
Last Oct, when the new rate of one in 110 children was announced, showing a fifty percent increase in autism between children born in 1994 and those born in 1996, Sebelius still wasn't sure if there's been any real increase at all, or just more better diagnosing of a disorder that's always been around. (HERE) l
Sebelius has hardly been an advocate for the hundreds of thousands of children with autism in this country.
The real insult to parents and kids has been endless years of health officials pretending that autism is some genetic disorder kids are born with. The federal government has been content to trivialize the impact of autism and to ridicule thousands of parents who claim that their children were normally developing until they received certain routine vaccinations.
I predict that autism will never be a crisis to this government. Officials will never hold autism press conferences calling for drastic action.
BUT...in the end autism will be a national emergency. The clock is ticking.
When one percent of young adults also have autism, when they're lined up at social services across the U.S., they will impact this nation like a 9-11 or a Pearl Harbor.
It's when autism becomes a financial catastrophe like the Wall Street Crash that we'll all finally wake up. I imagine that the CDC and the AAP will continue to be confused about autism. They'll still be debating the level of true increase and they'll have no idea of which environmental triggers are at fault. Our country will face this disaster alone as officials STILL KNOW NOTHING. -- Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.