Autism on the rise

Jessica Lewis

This week I wrote a story on Otselic Valley’s Third Annual Autism Awareness Walk. After the story ran in the paper, which only went out a few hours ago, I have received several e-mails from concerned individuals regarding what causes autism.

For years, scientists and doctors have been trying to discover the cause of autism, with little success. Many swear it is genetic, while others blame environmental factors (i.e. vaccines that contain mercury), and some claim it is a combination of the two, with environmental factors causing hundreds of genes to mutate and affect the way the mind operates.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m certain that more attention needs to be given to this growing problem. As was stated in today’s article, statistics show that in the United States, 1 out of every 150 children will be diagnosed with Autism. Autism is more prevalent in boys than girls, and 1 out of every 94 boys will be diagnosed with the disorder.

While there are services in place for children with this disorder, today, someone pointed out that services for adults with autism are severely lacking, and as more and more children reach adulthood, the country may encounter a real problem. The number of children diagnosed with autism is increasing and we need to determine what is causing it and what can be done to stop it.