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(35 Posts)
jacksmum Sat 24-Aug-19 22:21:20

Does anyone have any thoughts to the reason why so many children are being diagnosed with autism or other related conditions? this just did not happen years ago ,

tanith Sat 24-Aug-19 22:37:28

I think as there is more awareness nowadays more people are taking their children to the GP for diagnosis.

Bridgeit Sat 24-Aug-19 22:39:44

Hi I think it is because back in the day, apart from extreme cases folks just accepted that some children’s behaviour was a bit different ,and also the type of discipline that many received at home & at school was rightly or wrongly used to combat/ control what was then classed as ‘unacceptable behaviour’ so they probably didn’t even get assessed by a Doctor.
Also the escalation of computer games , tv programs etc, differing family set ups may be influencing mental development.

jacksmum Sat 24-Aug-19 22:47:18

I agree with your comment Bridgeit about the computer games etc , i wonder how many 5 yr olds have not spent time looking at a tablet/phone etc just to keep them occupied , it is such a shame so many children are now growing up with a label of some sort of issues , i also wonder if countries where children have no access to these type of devises have the same label attached to them ?

BradfordLass72 Sat 24-Aug-19 22:51:27

I recently read the theory that although the additives in our foods may be individually safe, there have been no tests done on how they affect the developing brains of children when ingested two or more different foods.

Additives in Food A may be an antagonist to those in Food B, although both foods have been declared safe in themselves.

Also, the chemicals in the plastic or metal containers can leach into the food however pure it is when made up. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

We have to be so careful these days. sad

Epsom Salts baths are proving helpful for autistic children.

SueDonim Sat 24-Aug-19 23:14:57

The latest research is asking whether it's being overdiagnosed.

Sussexborn Sat 24-Aug-19 23:42:30

Years ago there was a stigma attached to any mental health issues and there was a cruel generic label of mentally retarded. My cousin had a daughter who started regressing at about eighteen months. There was huge pressure to put her in an institution and as one doctor put it “forget all about her and start afresh”.

BlueBelle Sun 25-Aug-19 05:49:14

That’s exactly my observations suedonin
Did you know any children at school who were autistic ? I didn’t, we had the odd child who was odd but that was it really
Now as autism is believed to be predominately genetic or things that happen to the mother whilst in the womb it can’t be video games can it ?
I think nowadays the need to conform to be at the same stage of development as everyone else, and not to be ‘different’ is considered SO important but why
I do not deny autism which can be so difficult and debilitating for families and for the child and needs early diagnosis and help and support BUT there are many that are ‘diagnosed’ at the lower end of the scale that are kids that are a bit different and thank goodness for a bit of difference but having that label totally dilutes it for the children with Autism who truly need help and support

Jane10 Sun 25-Aug-19 06:52:57

When I started work at our local LD hospital in the late 70s there were 850 residents. Now there are none. They are all in 'the community'. There were so many children that there was a school for them in the grounds. Now they are in mainstream schools. Many were not so obviously disabled but now would be diagnosed as having autism. Many personal tragedies.
As to others, I always remember a Thora Hird character musing as to why there are now so many children with dyslexia etc and saying they were always around- 'They just sat at the back of the class with raffia!'

Urmstongran Sun 25-Aug-19 07:17:35

Yes, it’s all about being in the community and not segregated these days. 50y ago (when I was at school) ‘mentally retarded’ children all went to a separate school.

It must be a huge challenge for teachers. SENCO (special educational needs coordinator) are in every school now I think. Also teachers need their teaching assistants now as one teacher can’t control a class of such mixed ability.

Grannyjacq1 Sun 25-Aug-19 07:32:31

I don't remember any children with food allergies when I was at school either. There were a few with asthma, but not the vast number that we see today who use inhalers.

TerriBull Sun 25-Aug-19 08:48:05

Grannyj, I believe the rise in asthma is linked to pollution and emissions which are far worse today. One of my sons had childhood asthma and other associated problems, glue ear etc., our doctor told us it's where we live, fairly near M25 and Heathrow, "Go and live abroad was his helpful suggestion" hmm Little was known about autism for quite a while, I believe it only became recognised as a condition a few decades ago. There was definitely a girl at my school who had unrecognised dyslexia, very bright, but reading was behind and handwriting all over the place, which she was reprimanded for.

Having said that I never knew anyone with eating disorders or who self harmed at my all girls school.

Grannyjacq1 Sun 25-Aug-19 09:46:54

Me neither, Terribull - I can't remember anyone with an eating disorder or who self-harmed ... or who had serious levels of 'exam stress', even though we sat plenty of potentially life-changing exams! What's happening to our youngsters today?

LullyDully Sun 25-Aug-19 10:00:39

I can remember children who were likely to be autistic when I was a child; primary school and secondary. There were children who just didn't fit in. I can still remember their names.

Also kids who had problems reading who were just thick , and are now diagnosed as dyslexic.

We now know more about special needs thank goodness.

When I taught in a special school in London, it was for children described as ESN. That is educationally subnormal. It makes me shudder.

Hopefully a child with autism in a mainstream school should have funds for a TA. ( I realise this may not be the case.)

starbird Sun 25-Aug-19 10:05:48

There was a programme recently about a child diagnosed as autistic, who actually had Pandanus - which can start after a throat infection. It has similar but more extreme symptoms but is actually an illness which can potentially be cured.
What I find distressing is the number of children who develop autism after vaccines - I would not say no to vaccines but wonder if they overload the immune system. Perhaps more breastfeeding would help. I wonder if there are any studies on this?

GrannyGravy13 Sun 25-Aug-19 10:07:42

LullyDully If the child is "statemented" the school will receive extra funding for an SEN teaching assistant.

It is a long drawn out process to get a SEN statement, sometimes taking many years.

quizqueen Sun 25-Aug-19 10:15:17

I think a lot of so called 'special needs' and medical conditions these days are down to a combination of modern living; harmful substances in food and the environment including radio waves from mobile phone masts. Some are down to poor parenting and over diagnosis to get special funding. These incidences have also increased in the population, funnily enough, to match the increase in inoculations which children are advised to have.

Antonia Sun 25-Aug-19 10:17:21

Please google 'virtual autism.' Some parents, with the best of intentions, sit their little one in front of a computer screen, mistakenly thinking that because the programme is labelled 'educational' that the child is gaining some benefit. In reality, children need to learn by exploring, using their five senses, which cannot happen on a screen. Their brains are not developing as they ought to do. In addition, screens are addictive and the child can become less able to interact with other people. This often leads to a diagnosis of autism. When the screens are removed, the child develops normally once more.

Newmom101 Sun 25-Aug-19 10:47:07

I have spent the last 10 years studying special educational needs, and working with children with special needs (including autism) and disagree with this entirely.

Starbird there is absolutely no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Many children with autism will have a regression in skills which occurs around 3 years of age, and happens to coincide with the MMR vaccine. But it has been proven time and time again that it is not causing the child to develop autism, many unvaccinated children also go through the same regression. The fear of vaccines for this reason that led to many not vaccinating their children did not affect autism rates at all.

More children are being diagnosed these days because we have better, earlier methods of diagnosis. This means support can be put in place for the child at an earlier age and leads to much better outcomes at school. Whereas years ago these children would have struggled academically, they are now leaving school with a good set of GCSEs and able to go onto college. Earlier, and better, methods of identification are why most there appears to be more cases of lots of things now. Take cancer for instance, if you go back 50, 100 years, there were far less cases but there also weren’t the methods for diagnosis that there are now. Many people would have just died of ‘an illness’, just like many non-verbal autistic children were ‘retarded’ and verbal ones were ‘just naughty children’. The same goes for almost any developmental disorder, mental illness, or physical illness. Science is more advanced now, people are more aware and more likely to see a doctor and get an accurate diagnosis. You only have to see the rates of adult diagnosis of autism now to see that there have always been more people with autism, but they simply weren’t diagnosed. There are far more cases of girls diagnosed with autism in the last 10 years or so, because there has been evidence to show that girls with autism present differently, they are better at ‘social masking’ than boys are so they were being missed. But they still had poor communication skills, and in most cases, extremely high anxiety. Now that clinicians are more aware of this, more girls are getting the support they need.

And please don’t suggest it’s parenting, or ‘sticking children in front of the tv’. When autism was first ‘discovered’ in the 1940s the predominant theory was ‘refrigerator mothers’ who were cold and unloving towards their children were causing them to be autistic. We’ve moved on from this now and although we still don’t know the cause, we do know that people with autism have neurological differences to ‘typical’ person. Let’s not go back to parent blaming.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 25-Aug-19 11:02:27

Newmom101 what a well informed post, I agree with you.

As for "screens" an iPad and noise cancelling earphones has meant freedom for our GC and family, we can go out with GC to any type of restaurant /social situation and when GC feels "overwhelmed" earphones and iPad come out, when GC was younger and "not allowed screens" this would have necessated a family member to take GC home as the "noise and stimulation would have been unbearable.

Dyspraxia ( also on "The Spectrum") used to be known as " clumsy child syndrome" computer games are extremely helpful for hand eye co-ordination.

Newmom101 Sun 25-Aug-19 11:09:39

However, I do agree with the points about eating disorders. Exposure to western media has been shown to influence the development of eating disorders. I can’t remember the researchers name, but in the 90s a remote island had TVs introduced for the first time, exposing them to western media. Shortly after the island had its first ever case of an eating disorder. Images in the media certainly aren’t always healthy.

Antonia I have just had a little look into ‘virtual autism’ and am dubious. I can’t seem to find the original research, just many articles making claims about ‘virtual autism’. I did however, find an research suggesting that excessive screen time can cause language delays, short attention span and hyperactivity in children. But those symptoms are more in line with ADHD, not autism. They did also identify that there was no parental engagement during this time, which may be the bigger issue at play. The WHO guidelines suggest that parents should be ‘co-watching’, to ensure social engagement alongside.

Obviously too much screen time isn’t great for kids. They need lots of varied stimulation. But I don’t think it’s right to suggest that it’s ‘causing autism’ when there is no evidence at all to support that. It’s just parent blaming, and it honestly seems that parents these days can’t do much right, there’s always some news article or other criticising something.

BradfordLass72 Sun 25-Aug-19 11:12:18

Newmom101 excellent post. smile

Doodle Sun 25-Aug-19 11:14:13

newmom. Well said. What a well thought out post.
Getting a diagnosis for autism and funding is not easy. For those who think that many parents do this just so their child can have allowances to pass exams have no idea how hard it is to get an assessment or funding. My son and DIL have had to fight for years and their battles continue. There is no lack of parental love in our family nor of sticking a child in front of the TV.

Deedaa Sun 25-Aug-19 19:35:01

In past years it just wasn't recognised. When GS1 was diagnosed a whole lot of things about DH suddenly fell into place. Now I knew why I so often found myself asking him "Why do you always find everyday life so hard?" I'm sure his mother was on the spectrum as well. She always behaved as if she was acting out a script she'd read about normal behaviour. She had problems with personal relationships, DH was always introduced as "Son" rather than by name and i was always "Daughter in Law" She got by, but her life would have been happier with a bit of support.

lemongrove Sun 25-Aug-19 20:21:50

Newmom so glad you posted on here....I read various comments that went before yours
And thought ‘can I really be bothered to correct all these ignorant posts’! You have said it all, so I don’t need to.
Being the grandmother of an autistic and challenging teenage boy I could weep when I see such judgements as ‘parenting’
‘Too much tv or computer’ etc.
If anyone is really interested in autism there is loads of information on the internet about it, or look at the autism society online.No excuses for lazy and uninformed