Experts argue mightily over the frequency of autism amongst the general population. Many argue that the only difference between today and 20 years ago (from an autistic prospective) is that we are now diagnosing people as autistic, who previously were under the classifications of metal retardation, schizophrenia, or some other moniker.

It is my strong belief that autism is on the rise, and at an alarming rate. If one has the gene for autism in their genetic pool, this means that they have at least some potential for developing autism early on in their lifetime. What we have today is the perfect environment for autism to flourish. Life nowadays, is a sensory bombardment with endless choices of entertainment available at anytime for anyone. More people live in cities, which are by definition loud cacophonous places, replete with sensory overload, and to the sensitive right-brained individual, cities require those susceptible people to develop a defense mechanism necessary to survive that bombardment. Therein lies the rise of autism because autism is really nothing more than a defense mechanism required by an individual to handle sensory overload. Some people, no matter what, will never develop autism, others will develop ADD as a way of dealing with all of the information overload, and an interesting sidelight to all of this is that we no longer see books on ADD as so many people have it, it is no longer considered a disorder, but as a coping mechanism.

However, to those individuals who possess the autistic gene, this culture and society offers ample opportunity for those genes to flourish and indeed rising rates of autism maybe be nothing more than the collateral damage of our new technological world.

-Jeffrey Freed, M.A.T.