Taking a Closer Look at Autism Rates In a Small Rural School District
Rylance, Billie Jo
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This study examined prevalence rates in the United States, the State of Wisconsin and the local school district. It further investigated the perceptions of parents, educational and healthcare professionals about the rise in the rate of autism and the possible causes of such. Literature on the topic provided a vast amount of information, which indicated the rate of autism and autistic spectrum disorders, has indeed been rising at an alarming rate over the past several years. Research in the field is vast and continues to receive widespread attention. Historical data gathered in the study was consistent with survey results. Of the 77 individuals surveyed, 40 questionnaires were completed and returned. The results indicated that the majority (68%) of participants perceived an increase in autism. Comments regarding the suspected causes included environmental issues, increased awareness and better education, improved diagnostics and identification, vaccinations, genetics, electronics, and relocation in order to access better programs and services. While data and perceptions both recognized the apparent rise in autism prevalence, the number of students with autism and autistic spectrum disorders may be under-reported. It is the recommendation of this researcher that reporting methods for this disability be consistent across all states in the country in order to get a more accurate picture of the true prevalence rate. It is further recommended that all children with autism and autistic spectrum disorders, regardless if they attend public or private school, be accounted for in order to further insure the most accurate measure of this disability.
students with autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)