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Autism Spectrum Disorder: A New Paradigm for Integrative Management

Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D.

We are in the midst of a unique public health crisis in this nation. Debates about etiologies aside, most medical authorities concur that there are more children diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 166 children in the United States has been diagnosed with autism.

When Kanner and Asperger first reported their experiences with children with autism in the 1940s, prevalence rates were thought to be approximately 2–4 per 10,000 children. Epidemiologic studies until the late 1980s were remarkably consistent with respect to prevalence rates but, in the past 20 years, prevalence estimates have risen to the current level of 40–100 per 10,000, or nearly 1 percent.

If one widens the net a bit further and includes children with related disorders (i.e., attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities)—as some scientists suggest we should—prevalence rates of children with neurodevelopmental disorders reach the order of 1 in 6 children.

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