Recent rumor about the rising incidence in births of autistic children have led to a fear in the world community that we may be heading towards an autistic epidemic. However a recent report, which was published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, points out that this is not true. The report points out to certain facts that belie the fear of having an autistic epidemic.
The study had pointed out that recent changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1994 have made the diagnostic criteria less restrictive in according the status of "autism" to anyone. Thus more and more children are being diagnosed as autistic today than was may be in the early 40s or 50s. The authors of the study had also pointed out to a California study that had wrongly analyzed that the relaxed diagnostic criteria would not lead to more children being diagnosed with autism. There were gross fallacies in the conclusion drawn in the California study.
Another reason pointed out by the authors was the census authorities of US had not provided for any categorization of children as autistic till 1991-92. Hence the inclusion of the new criteria makes more children being included in the data today as autistic than 15 years ago.
Researchers feel that growing public awareness of the disease gets more children being taken to psychiatrists today and this leads to diagnosis of more and more cases of autism and other related disabilities today.