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****(Israel) Shocking autism news for Israelis; "awareness" cited

Updated: Jan 4, 2019

Jan 2, 2019, SHOCKING NEWS FROM ISRAEL…… ***Jan 3, 2018, Haaetz: Israel Sees 12 Fold Increase in Autistic Children in Special Ed Since 2000 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-sees-12-fold-increase-in-autistic-children-in-special-ed-since-2000-1.6805982 'Israel’s increase is exceptional': In 2000 there were 894 autistic children in special education, in 2018 the number has grown to 11,145 … The number of autistic children in special education has grown more than 12-fold in less than two decades, from 894 in 2000 to 11,145 in 2018, a new report said. The number of children with severe behavioral problems increased more than seven-fold during this period, from 2,347 to 17,483. Overall, the number of children in special education has jumped 127 percent since 2005, while the total number of schoolchildren climbed only 33 percent, the study said. During this same period, the Education Ministry’s budget for special education rose 138 percent, while its budget for ordinary education climbed 71 percent. Nachum Blass, who wrote the study for the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, said the rise in special education students is a global phenomenon. Nevertheless, Israel’s increase is exceptional, he said, which suggests that “we need to examine the Education Ministry’s definitions. It’s not reasonable that there should be such a large gap between the increase in special-needs students and that of other students.”… Dr. Orit Stoller, a pediatric neurologist with ALUT, the Israeli Society for Children and Adults with Autism, said the rise in autism is also related to an expanded definition of the syndrome. … Additionally, she said, awareness of disability grew and diagnostic tools were improved, so autism can now be discovered at a younger age. But the increase isn’t just a function of definitional and diagnostic changes, Stoller added. The fact that women are giving birth at older ages raises the risk of children on the autism spectrum. So does the fact that more premature babies survive these days, since autism is more common in preemies. Finally, there are environmental factors. While these haven’t been fully investigated, Stoller said, they apparently do increase the incidence of autism. Nevertheless, she stressed that early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve a child’s functioning. …