“One in 54 Utah kids has autism — the second highest prevalence in the nation — and 1 in 4 cannot or will not speak,” Salt Lake City’s Deseret News reported Sunday, in an article that focused on the difficulties of living with autism, and the need for more resources to help autistic children and their families.
The article, “School for kids with autism helps inside and outside the classroom” by Wendy Leonard, a reporter who covers health issues, did not discuss vaccines as a possible cause of autism, but points she touched on in her objectively written article are relevant in the debate over autism.
Many dismiss reports that the number of autistic children is climbing, arguing instead that the numbers only appears to be rising because we are better at detecting autistic children today than we were in the past, and because we today label as autistic children that in the past might have just been seen as poorly socialized, or just odd. Leonard’s 25% figure for autistic children could provide an additional challenge to those making such arguments: Deciding whether a child is merely odd would often be a subjective exercise, open to dispute. Deciding whether a child is non-verbal would generally be clear-cut.