While autism is defined as a separate childhood disease, its prevalence until the 1980s has been defined rarely, and it has been accepted as increasing frequency until today with many epidemiological studies. According to the researches, the rates seen by evaluating and screening children of different age groups by experts in their field were 1/160 in 2000, 1/68 in 2014, and this rate was reported as 1/59 for 2018.
Why is the incidence of autism increasing so rapidly? There are two obvious reasons for this. One is the development and spread of diagnostic tools. It is now easier to diagnose. Second, environmental factors are thought to trigger the incidence of autism.
In studies examining the reasons for the increase of this frequency, the reason for this has been explained for different reasons. For example; the diagnosis becomes more known, it can be explained by the increase in the number of diagnostic units such as pediatric psychiatry centers or the awareness of the society.
In addition, since autism is a disorder known to occur in the first years of a person’s life, an investigation has been made on newborn children in diagnoses made to date. As a result of the studies on the subject, individuals who show the symptoms of this disorder at an advanced age are now included in the scope of the definition.
It was noticed that individuals exhibiting symptoms within the definition of autism did not have such ailments at a young age. As a result of some researches that caused the definition of autism to expand, there was a great increase in the number of people with autism around the world. In this way, the authorities emphasized that the awareness that should be gained in society many years ago has been created indirectly and underlines that autism is not a disease, but a need for support.
To explain, the point that draws attention rather than an increase in the incidence of autism is that the definition of the disease is expanded and more people are accepted as on the autism spectrum, and awareness increases, and individuals with autism become more visible.
Numerous studies examining the relationship between vaccines and autism have not found a significant relationship between vaccination and the possibility of having autism. Vaccination is an application that significantly secures public health, especially in terms of childhood diseases. As the prevalence rate increases in vaccination, there is a decrease in childhood diseases in children or a decrease in the course of the disease even if the disease occurs in the child. In cases where vaccination is refused, it is stated that children are at a more serious risk than autism, at risk of death.
There are disorders that accompany autism spectrum disorder. Not all children can use medicines, but sometimes they can be accompanied by such a behavioral disorder. For example, the child is unable to control his impulses and begins to bite his arm; when he gets angry, he can hit his head against the wall very violently, or harm the other person. Impulse control disorder can be seen. In such cases, it is obligatory to get drug support. Just having any education is not enough. Because in order for the child to receive education, the child must be ready for education. Thankfully, in today’s world, when you see a child of one and a half and two years old, it is highly possible to be said that “yes this child is on the autism spectrum”.
This point is one of the most difficult events in the world for parents. Imagine, you have children with great dreams, but after the birth, even before your child gets 18 months old age, you see that your child does not communicate with you, does not look at your face, when you clap your hands or when you show something, he or she does not care. This can cause an incredible disappointment for parents. Especially after hearing the diagnosis, they may experience a period of depression and inadmissibility for days and weeks.
Does Technology Affect the Prevalence Rate of Autism?
The family whose child got the diagnosis should say, “My child was born like this, or yes, my child was diagnosed with autism, we should be strong and do something as soon as possible. If education is needed, education should be started immediately.”
As a parent, if you prolong the process of accepting the event, you will suffer a huge loss. Because of autism, the first period called 0-3 years is very critical. While the process becomes much more difficult after the ages of 5-6-7, the positive reaction of 22-23 months old children to education is much more and beautiful. Now we’re talking about a situation out of 56 in proportion. So it’s not incredible or distant to any of us. We will all become parents in the future, or we have become. This is a disorder that starts with a social communication problem, shifts towards autism, or expands the population, such as being born with autism directly.
There are many children who are not born with autism and who show symptoms of autism. Unfortunately, three things called television, tablet and phone caused children to experience incredible social interaction problems. In the simplest way, for example, you come across a child, you ask what your name is and you don’t even get an answer. Or you say that I have an object in my hand, follow it, and he or she does not. When you say look at me, he or she doesn’t look at you. At this point, you realize that even if the child was not born with autism, he/she started to show symptoms like autism.
Do not think that autism will necessarily be born congenitally. If the family does not care about the child, the child will only watch cartoons or if he/she only has a phone contact, then the symptoms of autism may begin to appear after 1-1.5 years. It may not be very severe autism, but the child has problems communicating socially. He cannot play games; when you give a toy to his hand, he cannot functionally play with it; and he cannot respond to your gestures and facial expressions.
If the child is already born with innate autistic features, there is no other way than accepting it and trying everything for the child’s education. The family needs to motivate themselves in some way, start treatment, and continue patiently.
But on the other hand, if you have a child who does not have autism, that is not born with autistic features, if he spends a lot of time in front of television, tablet or computer and starts to show autism features after a while, you will be more regretful as a parent. Television, telephone, a computer should not be in the daily life of children between 0-3. The child must fully communicate with his family, friends, relatives. If this happens, there will be no problem.
There is also a situation in which people who risk this incident by saying “this has not been the case with his child”. So his child may not have this situation, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t be in anyone else. According to experts, such situations began to appear very often.
Families coming to the doctor with complaints such as “When we say her name, he does not turn to us, does not look at us, does not communicate, does not speak.” When education is given for 6 months or 1 year, the child gets rid of these features that are autism-like. Why? Because the negativities that cause this situation are eliminated and education is started.
At the same time, experts think that the increasing ratio of nuclear families is also effective on this issue. In other words, children do not grow, play, or communicate with five or ten people as before. Only mother, father and child are at home. In this case, too, the number of people the child communicates with is very small. Maybe science doesn’t focus on that right now. This event remains a bit more cultural, but after a while, this will become a matter of concern.
Some miraculous methods, such as food, diets, oxygen tents, animal therapies, music-drama, and theories have been made to suggest that autism can be controlled by eating. Mothers and fathers also believe them. Unfortunately, there are no miraculous therapies. There are different therapies and helps but it is impossible to cure autism at once.
Due to the nature of autism spectrum disorder, it is a complex, multifactorial, and high inherited disease group and its frequency are increasing all over the world due to the reasons explained above. Currently, there is no effective drug treatment for the main clinical picture of autism. Along with the early diagnosis, intensive education programs specific to individuals and specific to autism are the most effective treatment methods available. However, while raising awareness about the disease in society, it should be emphasized that this information should be at the level of scientific evidence.
Environmental Risk Factors Associated With Autism
Experts who have seen the excessive increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism in recent years emphasize that more comprehensive research should be done about the causes that trigger autism. However, researches cannot link the increase to a single cause.
In recent years, the incidence of autism has increased 8 times and this has been the subject of controversy among scientists. The reason for this increase is not only based on genetic factors but also agreed that environmental factors are effective.
- Having siblings with autism spectrum disorders,
- Having parents with schizophrenia-like psychotic features or mood disorders,
- The age of the mother or father is over the age of 40,
- Neonatal stay in intensive care,
- Male gender,
- 35th week prenatal (premature birth),
- There is a risk of miscarriage until the 20th week of pregnancy,
- Living in the metropolitan,
- Autoimmune events in the mother’s pregnancy.
Although it is generally accepted that the individuals with autism are not “abnormal”, but rather “diversity within the human population”, it is possible that over-normalization of the problems caused by autism may harm the individuals with autism rather than a benefit. If we make the definition too ordinary, and dismiss it as a problem, autism research may find it difficult to identify the aids that need to be given to those people. This may be one of the reasons why a remarkable breakthrough in autism research has not been achieved in the last 10 years.
Books That You Can Find on Amazon to Understand Autism Better
Autism: Help For Autistic Adults, Understanding Adults with Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorders, Special Needs, ASD Books)
It will be a really beneficial book in order to understand how to deal with an autism spectrum disorder. If you want to help someone you know and help that person, it will help you yo understand basic difficulties and how to deal with them.
Living Well on the Spectrum: How to Use Your Strengths to Meet the Challenges of Asperger Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism
There are examples, suggestions, and questions in the book in terms of differences and solutions in the autism world. It describes differences and similarities between the people on the spectrum and normally developed people. It basically explains the life of a person with autism, what they do in daily routine, what kind of relations they have, what kind of difficulties they have, what kind of extremes they live through, etc. It purposes good conversation starters as well to make the conversation with someone on the spectrum easier.
An Adult with an Autism Diagnosis: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
If you or your loved one is someone who is newly diagnosed with autism in their old age, it will be an amazing guide to understand autism and live with autism. The author himself is one of those people. He talks about his journey in this book basically.
Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
It is an autobiographical book. The author talks about her life, her experiences, and her struggles. There is a great balance between being informative and entertaining in this book. It will be a good way to understand what having an Asperger’s syndrome means.
Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder)
It is about a woman who has diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. There are so many details, descriptions, and stories in this book to get attention and make you addicted to this book and understanding of the autism world.