Doctors say parent awareness could be one of the reasons autism is being diagnosed in children at a younger age. Dr. Heather Franklin is a pediatrician at IU Southern Indiana. Speaking on WFIU’s Noon Edition, Franklin says doctors have more information, but it’s often the parents who notice a problem before the doctors do.
“We know more. We’re looking for it earlier. We have parents coming to us early on [saying] I think my child is autistic,” Franklin says. “When I was in training at Riley, and I’ve been in private practice for 13 years, that was not the discussion we typically had.”
Bloomington resident Adria Nassim says she always had a hard time socializing with other people, but neither she nor her mother could figure out why.
“When come age 20 and I still was having no interest in relationships, very few interests even in outings…some of my friends at Brescia [College] used to call me the library rat because I would go to the library and study rather than go to the girls basketball game…she said ‘ok, I’m going to have you tested’ and sure enough,” Nassim explains.
The doctor diagnosed Nassim with asperger syndrome, a type of autism spectrum disorder. Recent studies have shown one in 88 people have been diagnosed with autism.
The medical community is mixed on whether the increase caused by an increase in diagnoses or a jump in the number of people with the disorder.