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An Unlikely Epidemic

Every two years, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) releases data about the prevalence of Spectrum Disorders. In their latest report, data demonstrates a significant change in the number of diagnoses from 2008 to 2010: a noteworthy 30% increase in prevalence in the United States.  As of 2010, 1 in 68 children is reported to have been diagnosed with an ASD (Biao 2014). The large spike in numbers, however, is likely not due to drastic changes in air quality or new diets of the next generation. They are also probably not caused by radical changes in gene pools or environmental factors. Though it may be unnerving at first glance, these numbers don’t necessarily indicate a significant increase in the disorder. In fact, the hike in numbers may point towards a positive trend: progress in the levels of ASD awareness (Bloudoff-Indelicato 2014).    

Starting Early

The brain changes at a rapid pace in young children, as they experience a newfound world—a domain outside the amnion—and discover the capabilities and potentials of their bodies. The sensations they are bombarded by and the reactions they employ are all chronicled in the increasing connectivities of their brains. Since not every child experiences his/her surroundings in the same light, there are bound to be differences in the progression of mental developments. In the case of ASDs, there seems to be recognizable disparities in the brain connectivity of an autistic child relative to one without any symptoms of ASDs.