By now I am sure you all have heard about the new CDC report that just came out stating that now 1 in 50 children in the USA is on the spectrum. (If not just click on this and it will take you to the actual report.) Does this report surprise me, nope. I think we all agree that the old 1 in 88 was low and so this to me actually does make more sense. What does surprise me is how quickly this report is being used in a way that was so completely against the whole reason it was done. SIGH!
I am glad that the report is showing this because now perhaps more government funds will be allocated to provide resources to those on the spectrum to give them the tools they need to be able to live rich and fulfilling lives. I am glad the report exists so that schools systems will be forced to re-evaluate their teaching methods and society re define what is consider Normal and typical. To me, this is why I applaud studies like this for, HOWEVER, I am afraid that is not how they are going to be used.
Already I have heard words like “EPIDEMIC” and “frightening increase” and this my friends is what scares me. I fight every day to have my boy be seen as just that… a boy. A real person and not just a statistic. And when I think, finally we are getting somewhere, another study comes out and yes it shows what I already knew and instead of all the good that could come out of it, the media will jump on the bad and bring out all the guns and start pointing fingers and looking for blame and when that happens… well we forget about the faces, the people behind the numbers.
April is coming up… Autism Awareness. Perhaps this study will make people pay more attention, and for that well I am grateful. You see I believe with all my heart that the more folks are aware, the more people who can see the boy, girl, man, woman behind the 1 and 50
statistic… well the more compassion and acceptance they will have.
This new report now estimates that over one million people in the US are on the spectrum. Perhaps instead of running in fear, instead of blaming and working against one another we need to start to come together and show the world what these one million really look like. Let them be heard and then let’s go from there!
So whether you choose to light it up blue or wear all the colors in the rainbow… I really don’t care. All I care about is that we work together to make sure that our loved ones are not just a statistic.