The Schafer Autism Report
I See a Different Conspiracy
The complete letter to the Schafer Autism Report
by Camille Clark, Davis, California
I see a conspiracy. But not the one you refered to in your "Neo-Mengelism" editorial.
I see a conspiracy to deny that autistic adults have an opinion in this and other matters of autism. Some and a growing number of autistic adults are sick of hearing that autism is an "epidemic", a "disaster", a "catastrophe" even. They think there is a conspiracy to create the appearance of an autism epidemic. The numbers that are quoted frequently to support the "epidemic", the IDEA derived numbers, are misrepresented. There is an explanation for why it "looks like" there has been an increase in autism. It has to do with the way the numbers are being recorded. But very few people talk about that.
All one has to do is look carefully at the autism hysteria inducing chart at <http://www.whale.to/a/autism_increase.html> to get a grasp of what is going on there.
There are the "damning" numbers, but before you all go running into the streets with your babies clutched to your bosoms, screaming, "You will not vaccinate my child!", look at the chart again.
Notice that New Hampshire, the District of Columbia and Mississippi all reported that they had nary a one, zero, zip, nada autistics in the year 1992/1993.
This chart records school age autistics. The numbers reported by states in response to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There is a congressional document (U.S. Department of Education's Twenty-fourth annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) that shows that in the year 1991/1992 not all states recorded the number of autistic children in their purview. Quoting from page A23 in the footnotes: "Reporting on autism and traumatic brain injury was required under IDEA beginning in 1992-93 and was optional in 1991-92."
If you want to read it with your own eyes, <http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/osep/2002/index.html> go to that page and get the Appendix A, part 1 data tables document. the numbers that I found were different than the chart with the screaming percentages, but not too much different.
From the chart, 1992/1993 Illinois had the blessedly small number of 5 autistic children in the whole state.
I bet there were 5 autistic children in Urbana, Illinois, alone.
In the year 2000 the population of Illinois was over 12 Million. the reported number of autistic kids was 2,435. Divide 12,419,293 by 2,435. I did it with a calculator and got, 5,100 plus a smidge. That is a ratio of autistic kids to regular folk in Illiniois of 1 to 5,100.
And yet, Illinois had already "suffered" a supposed increase of 48,600% (forty eight thousand six hundred percent) in 8 years.
One wonders about why some states have huge jumps in numbers of autistic kids from 1992 to 2001, while Massachusettes had only a ten percent increase, look at all the percentages of increase on the chart. The chart shows: Massachusetts as having a 10 percent increase, Puerto Rico a 53 percent increase, California a 422 percent increase, Kentucky at 1,845 percent increase, Colorado a more impressive 2,400 percent, Wisconsin shows 7,928 percent -- that's the highest percent increase before Illinois with it's grandstanding 48,600 percent. Let me guess, the reason Massachusetts has such a small increase by comparison is that they haven't been vaccinating kids there for a while.
"Traumatic brain injury" is a category, like autism, that was a later addition to the IDEA statistics. In the entire nation, traumatic brain injurycwent from 39 kids being served under IDEA in 1992 to 7,716 kids in 2001. That's close to a 20,000 percent increase.
The total number of all disabled kids being served under IDEA leaped from 252,584 to 2,321,313 in one year, 1995/1996 to 1996/1997.
What happened during that year? Where was I?
It is said that there are lies, damn lies and statistics.
Please look carefully at statistics that are quoted to support the imaginary autism epidemic. Then ask yourself, "Where is the conspiracy?"
- Camille Clark autistic and mother Davis, California