The explosion in autism really astounds me. It is frightening! It certainly makes a couple fearful of having a child. To realize that so many families in my vicinity are affected by autism, Asperger’s and mental retardation really disturbs me.
For one, we know that a family into which a child is born who has Down’s syndrome will in all likelihood divorce. We don’t know why, but couples who have a Down’s syndrome child usually divorce and end their marriage. That does not help with the stability of society and makes marriage precarious.
Likewise, I fear similar outcomes for married couples who have children with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. While I know of no studies on the prevalence of divorce due to children born with birth defects, clinically we have observed over the years, this phenomenon of divorce apparently precipitated by such births and the burden of taking care of such disabled children.
A couple of years ago it appeared that the rate of autism was beginning to decline; however, that is not the case and it appears to have been a false hope. With the rate exceeding 1 out of every 166 children, this represents a massive increase from the 2 children I saw during my years of post doctoral training.
This is such a rapid increase and it makes one wonder why we as a nation have not done something about it? Such lack of response makes one wonder if it was not planned? While that certainly seems ludicrous, the deafening silence from Washington and from our leaders makes one wonder.
Since the rate of autism appears to still be increasing, what will it take to get the attention of our national leaders? Do we have to wait until 1 out of 88 of our children is born suffering an autistic disorder before we take action? Do we have to wait until there are several autistic children living on every block before we seek to start a campaign to combat this scourge? What does this bode for the future of our country?