Autism Rates Highest in Wealthy, Highly Educated Families?

Several years ago, when all the scares of vaccines really started to heighten, there was a study published in a popular parenting magazine about clusters of autism spectrum disorders being detected in a wealthy, highly educated areas in the Northeastern US. Moms were beginning to throw so called “chicken pox parties” and panicking as to whether they should get their children vaccinated, space them out, or get none at all. More recently, there have been studies and findings published about areas near the silicon valley and other wealthy, highly educated areas in places like California. Books like “The Einstein Syndrome” by Dr. Thomas Sowell, also note highly educated, highly skilled (often musically skilled or scientifically) parents having children who are “late talkers” and with other issues, though Sowell mentions the late talking and other clearly autistic manifestations, he uses the term “Einstein Syndrome” in his book. So why are the rates of autism found so much more in highly educated families? Are the wealthy and highly educated just able to better access a diagnosis and an evaluation? Do they demand their doctors test for such things more than poor families with less education? Researchers are finding more and more answers about autism. Once thought to be brought on by “cold” mothers, who were not nurturing their children enough, we now know that autism is a pervasive developmental disability, which is not a death sentence and is also not a simple gift or blessing. It is a real disability and people who are diagnosed need support, understanding and access to educational accommodations. We know that people on the spectrum can live independent, productive and healthy lives with the supports and services they need. Even if every single family with autism were wealthy and highly educated, it would not take away from the fact that people with different abilities have rights, and they are entitled to have those rights protected in all environments. However, actual intelligence, rather than worldly gains such as formal education, or wealth, seems likely to be a more relevant area for researchers to study concerning autism, (which is a brain difference) genetics, and neurology.

ICAA is a non-research organization, and we are concerned with advocacy, education, inclusion and supports for people who are on the autism spectrum or have other differences in ability.

More information on the cluster studies and research:

Lorna Wing (The Centre for Social and Communication Disorders, Elliot House, 113 Masons Hill, Bromley, Kent, BR2 9HT, UK ), Autism Research Center: “Autism Occurs More Often in Families of Physicists, Engineers, and Mathematicians”, UC Davis, Miami Friendship School , CNN, IACC report to congress, The Globe and Mail,  Health Key

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2 Responses to Autism Rates Highest in Wealthy, Highly Educated Families?

  1. Josiah says:

    what do you mean “autism is a brain difference”?

    • ICAA says:

      Hi Josiah. Autism is a pervasive neurological disorder. A person on the autism spectrum has brain differences than the average, non autistic person. Researchers are still determining what the differences are, what they mean and the different ways they make us all different. When one says that autism is “pervasive”, this means that autism affects experiences, and life profoundly. So rather than “having” autism, as if it were a cold or cough that can be remedied, it is a pervasive part of someone for life. However, as we all have been learning over the years, there are safe, effective and positive therapies and supports that can really help people overcome the challenges that can be associated with autism spectrum disorders. Occupational therapy has been one of the most reported positive supports for people on the spectrum, along with music based and communication based supports.

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