The New Normal: 1 in 68 Children with Autism

by Ashley Morgan, mother of two chronically ill children (Leo and Sydney)

It’s official according to the CDC and other government bodies. The rate of autism has increased no matter what. The numbers are now 1 in 68. Will these new numbers be the tipping point that will cause change in the way we take care of our children? Will it change how we live?

Over reporting? Even Michael Kogan, lead author of the HRSA study states there are unaccounted for percentages in the rise. I didn’t get a call, did you?

Doubtful Leo’s former pediatricians didn’t account for him. And how about those that say we must “proceed with caution?” What? Cautiously treat children that desperately need services?  When a very small percentage get the level of services they need already?

Do we treat the statistics, or do we treat what we see before us?

I was sitting at dinner the other night with new friends after Leo’s baseball game. Our first social dinner out since our move. For the day I forgot all about health: Sydney and Leo were having a good health weekend. The day was extraordinary beautiful, a perfect game day. Leo’s bun-free order didn’t even register. It was so nice!

The “New Normal”

Come to think of it, it has been a break to not know almost every single child in Leo’s 5th grade like I did at our old community. That constant reminder of our New Normal.

My bubble burst as somehow the topic of the uneaten bun comes up. The mom offers that the restaurant has a gluten-free menu available upon request. I smile widely and say all the right things back.

The dad joins the conversation and says they “used to think Taylor had a gluten problem, but that wasn’t it. They still don’t know what it is.”

Usually this is my cue to go off about the toxic load, how we are all bearing children with gastrointestinal and immune problems from the get go. But, I was tired. I was bummed. I didn’t even say something sympathetic or ask more. Not me! Did I subconsciously think our new community was immune to the New Normal?

And what is the New Normal anyway? The secret isn’t out yet, it’s not okay to openly talk about it. Doesn’t register with most parents, as they often think they are the ONLY ones with sick kids.

It’s Not Just Kids with Autism

Many parents don’t even KNOW their kids are chronically ill because their friends, their pediatricians, don’t phrase these problems as chronic illness.

I’ve gone through four pediatricians. They all didn’t show concern when I asked them, “Aren’t you concerned that all these kids are sick once a month?” Isn’t that abnormal?

All four say the same thing, like good little soldiers courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Why think for yourself when you are protected to say and BELIEVE the party line?

Here is the new normal that I SEE EVERY DAY and I have consistently seen since Leo was born almost 11 years ago.

Just this summer my good friend Janice that had a girl in Leo’s class and I sat down and looked at the lovely 4th grade class of “typical” children in our affluent public classroom. I knew all the boys, and Janice knew the girls since our kids have grown up with them.

Just a handful, on average, 5 out of 22 children per class (or 20 out of 88 children) were “normal.”

These five kids did NOT have: ADHD, ADD, autism, a mood disorder, a learning disability, Sensory Processsing Disorder, chronic eczema, constipation, asthma, allergies (food, environmental), PANDAS, Lyme disease and/or co-infections, a behavior plan, ODD, chronic colds, bronchitis. (See more statistics about the “new normal” on Ashley’s blog here:

About 5 out of 22 children per class. That gives you roughly 22% of health. Is it just me or does that not scare the crap out of you?

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