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Kathy Marshack News

New Research Suggests One Percent of US Children may have Autism Disorders

Monday, October 12, 2009


Two new government studies indicate about 1 in 100 American children have autism disorders – which is significantly higher than a previous US estimate of one in 150. One of the studies, published in the journal Pediatrics by researchers at the Health Resources and Services Administration, reports that one in every 91 children ages 3 to 17 have such a disorder, as determined by a survey of 78,000 parents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is announcing their not-yet published results of a study that finds about one in 100 8-year-olds has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

 

Researchers don’t know how much of the increase is a result of more frequent and earlier diagnoses and how much is a result of a real rise in the conditions. The Pediatrics paper discusses several possible explanations for the apparent increase in ASD diagnoses including a broader definition of autism disorders and a heightened awareness on the part of parents and doctors. Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said in a news conference: "The concern here is that buried in these numbers is a true increase." Insel noted that President Obama wants to increase spending on autism research by the National Institutes of Health by 16% — a bigger increase than in any other area of NIH research.

 

 England just recently released their first study of adults with autism. Apparently the findings confirm that ASD is just as common in adults as it is in children. Researchers at the University of Leicester, found that roughly 1 in 100 adults are on the spectrum — the same rate found for children in England. In fact, researchers found no significant differences in autism prevalence among people they surveyed in their 30s, 40s, 50s, right up through their 70s! Yet, as we know, the adult population with ASD is definitely under-diagnosed and therefore underserved.

 

Asperger Syndrome and Codependency

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


As more adults are being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS), mental health professionals are learning that one of the most handicapping problems faced by these adults occurs in their interpersonal relationships. The primary reason that adults with Asperger Syndrome have poor interpersonal relationships is that they have underdeveloped social skills, the major one being empathy. The way the spouse of the Asperger Syndrome partner often copes with this lack of empathy is to become codependent.

 

Codependence is defined as a state of mind where you put your needs and dreams aside in order to help the other person have a life. Kindness is doing these kinds of things sometimes and having a balance of give and take in a relationship. In a codependent relationship, no matter how much you give the other person does not return the favor. Yet you keep on giving and getting more fatigued, frustrated and resentful.

 

Codependence leads to micromanaging the AS members of the family. Because the AS members are doing everything they can to function in other areas of life, such as their job, everything else gets dropped. The codependent person picks up what is dropped as well as managing his or her own life.

 

1.    The codependent arranges all of the social life.

2.    Or the codependent is fully responsible for childcare and home management.

3.    Or the codependent covers for his spouses social faux pas.

4.    Or the codependent lays out her husband’s clothes because he always mismatches things.

5.    Or the codependent pays for extra childcare or dry cleaning because his wife is so overloaded.

6.    Or the codependent works overtime or a second job because his spouse cannot earn enough money or keep a steady job.

7.    Or the codependent takes a job for health benefits because her spouse is self-employed in lieu of unsteady employment.

8.    Or the codependent stays up late to type the teenager’s paper so that the kid won’t turn in homework late again.

 

The codependent experiences burnout eventually. To get beyond codependency, you need to explore self-care. Put your needs first and see to them first.  Since your AS spouse or child loves you but has no idea how you tick, make your beliefs and needs known in concrete ways.

 

Educate yourself as much as possible about the relationship issues of AS so that you can spot the symptoms of dysfunction early and correct the problems. Use books, tapes, and psychotherapy. You can also use a support group to replenish your energy because this is a difficult task – if you live in Portland/Vancouver check out the group Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD.

 

To learn more about AS and codependency in relationships visit my Asperger & Marriage page or take a look at my book - Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge? Practical Steps to Saving You and Your Relationship.

 

 

 

 


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