Autism On The Rise: 1 in 68 Children Diagnosed: The Internet Fallout

By Bunmi on March 28th 2014
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The rate of autism is increasing, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in a report released yesterday. In 2012, 1 in every 88 children was diagnosed with autism.

HuffPost Parents reported:

According to the new report, among 8-year-olds living in one of 11 CDC surveillance areas across the country in 2010, roughly 14.7 in every 1,000 had autism, though there were some regional differences in rates -- many of them pronounced. In New Jersey, for example, 1 in 45 children had been identified with autism, compared to just 1 in 175 in Alabama.

The last few months have been heated on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs as "vaccers" and "anti-vaccers" faced off over causation vs. correlation when it comes to autism and vaccines and yesterday's report added fuel to an already hot fire.

Watching these intense debates play out over Facebook between friends and even within families always makes me uneasy. Name-calling. Unfriending. Blocking. I can tell that parents on both sides of the issue care deeply for the children and just want to see them have a bright future. It's our fear that makes this debate so emotional.

I've chosen to stay out of the online debates. I keep the choices my family makes private: between my husband, myself and our doctor. For me, posting universal truths is pointless because 1) I don't think every child is the same. All children have unique genetic makeups, dispositions, and family histories that only their parents are privy to and 2) I don't want to add to the environment of discord.

One thing I do love to see are discussions. People talking without shaming or scaring: trading actual facts and personal anecdotes.

At the end of the day, there are real families being affected by all of this. Real mothers and fathers wringing their hands, just trying to do what's best for their families. For me, being a gentle parent also means that I'm gentle TO other parents and respectful of their choices.

Where do you stand when it comes to sharing the choices your family has made? Are you loud and proud? An online activist? Or a quiet observer, like I am? :)