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DENVER POST: Letter: AUTISM INCREASE IS REAL; 400% in CO since 1992

April 16, 2019, Denver Post: Letters: Increases in autism; … Re: “Diagnosis of autism increasing, not the condition itself,” March 20 letter to the editor The author of the March 20 letter about autism, Gene I. Katz, is neither an MD nor credentialed to assess the autism epidemic. His website shows a degree in counseling from the University of Phoenix. Katz promotes erroneous notions that the increase in autism is merely better diagnosing or changes in diagnostic criteria. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders was in place from 2000 to 2013, while autism in Colorado schools increased from 338 students to 5,774 students using the same diagnostic criteria. “Better diagnosis” cannot explain the 17-fold increase using the same DSM diagnostic criteria for 13 years. The Colorado Department of Education’s government data reports that since 1992, Colorado student population grew by 49 percent while autism increased by over 400 percent. That is 17 Colorado students with autism were reported in 1992 and the CDE reported that 7,805 students in 2018 have autism. Colorado is not alone. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this month that autism spectrum disorder rates in New Jersey 4-year-olds rose by 43 percent in four years. “It’s very likely that the next time we survey autism among children, the rate will be even higher,” said Walter Zahorodny, associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. The increases appear to reflect actual growth in the rate of children with autism, not just more diagnoses, Zahorodny said. Let’s promote more research and funding for autism and stop denying its real increase! Fran Sincere, Lakewood


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