Are We Facing an Autism Epidemic in the United States?

One question that parents of children on the autism spectrum as well as autism professionals are asking themselves is whether or not we are facing an autism epidemic in the United States. Autism spectrum disorder prevalence rates jumped from 1 in 150 children to 1 in 110 children. Is this jump due to better diagnostics from today’s professionals? Is this jump due to those that are mildly affected by autism marrying and having children, thus passing on genetic traits to their children? Is this jump due to external factors like vaccines?

Honestly, I don’t know.

An article that appeared in The Lakeland Times addresses the autism epidemic topic.

In the politically-tinted scientific world, there is what might be called a spectrum of causality, a sweep of beliefs about autism yielding two opposing viewpoints – those who believe the globe is engulfed in an autism pandemic constituting a major public health crisis, and those scientists who say it is all a myth.

What do you think? Should the rise in autism cases be considered an epidemic or not?

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.


  1. Some do consider it that. I’m not sure at this point. My daughter has SPD with Asperger’s tendencies. I know she was this way from birth, before any vaccines and while only on breast milk. I believe her problems are genetic. That doesn’t mean others don’t slip into autistic like behaviors due to other factors, environmental or otherwise. Dr. Melillo, founder of the Brain Balance Program (www.brainbalancecenters.), calls it an epidemic. His hemispheric theory of balancing the brain is getting great results with children on the spectrum, but I haven’t heard him delve into what causes the mis-communication between the sides of the brain. There are experts on both sides of the argument.

  2. Sorry, I was referencing Dr. Melillo’s website in the above comment.