On March 24, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that approximately 2.8 percent of 8-year-olds identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That’s 1 in 36 children. This is based on data collected in 2020, so we don’t know yet what the numbers will be for 2022, of which we can expect to be more. Looking at the CDC’s report for the past decade, the upward trend is clear. Except for 2010 and 2012, the number of children diagnosed with autism seems to have increased by more than 10% yearly.
While some attribute the statistical increase to increased attention to early detection of autism, others believe that the number may be higher due to fewer cases being diagnosed during the pandemic. Obviously, we now see autism so commonly around us that it is no longer a world away from us. What’s also notable is that California, the most open and urbanized of the states surveyed, had a prevalence rate more than double that of any other state. (Estimates ranged from 1 in 43 in Arkansas and Maryland to 1 in 22 in California.)
|Data year||This is about 1 in X children.|
|2020||1 in 36|
|2018||1 in 44|
|2016||1 in 54|
|2014||1 in 59|
|2012||1 in 69|
|2010||1 in 68|
|2008||1 in 88|
|2006||1 in 110|
|2004||1 in 125|
|2002||1 in 150|
While these statistics suggest several prevalent conditions in and of themselves, what is clear beyond that is that the number of young children with signs of autism is increasing significantly and consistently each year. We speculate that there are several causes, none of which have been scientifically proven. However, from the results and evidence inferred from the relationship between the variables observed during the treatment process and outcome, I have been trying to explain the occurrence of autism and develop and prove treatment protocols accordingly. This time, I am starting a new clinical study. Over the next two years, the Dr. Tomato Protocol will study 50 children aged 12 months to 30 months. This study will prove the effectiveness of the Dr. Tomato Protocol.
Early intervention is critical when a child’s developmental challenges are identified. Denying a problem does not solve the problem. However, the benefits of early intervention do not mean that a child’s behavior and cognitive development should be manipulated by forced training. Particularly for younger children, there is more possibility that interventions based on the relationship with the caregiver can minimize the child’s challenge and help them out of autism. Autism should not be considered a misfortune, a reason to despair and give up.
I am convinced that awareness and acceptance of Autism in our everyday lives and the various efforts to help people with autism and their families can be achieved if we work together with mutual respect.