Edward Ritvo

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Westwood, CA 90095

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NO EPIDEMIC OF AUTISM Edward R. Ritvo is a well-known figure in the world of autism research and was an early critic of the works of Dr. Ivar Lovaas, also of UCLA. THERE IS NO EPIDEMIC OF AUTISM! Rather my research efforts to identify mild forms of the disease which began in the 1970s is paying off. We now diagnose a spectrum of severity ranging from the "classical" Kanner description of the most sever cases to the mildest forms called "Asperger's Syndrome (all of which have "AUTISTIC DISORDER DSM IV). Also, increased case finding is mainly due to: a) Our efforts to educate physicians and the public as to the nature of autism so that more accurate diagnoses are made and cases are identified. b) The availability of public agencies and schools to provide services in the community and thus keep tabs on newly - properly diagnosed cases. c) The closure of State and private "warehouses" where many were improperly diagnosed, and housed. The prevalence figures that are emerging just now from California and Illinois are in line with recent figures from Japan and other countries that have recognized the existence of milder cases of autism for several years, Thus, the increased figures (up to 25 - 30/10,000) come as no surprise to those following the international epidemiological literature.

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