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Professional opinion on the question of changes in autism incidence

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Author(s): M. Catherine DeSoto | Robert T. Hitlan

Journal: Open Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN 2161-7325

Volume: 03;
Issue: 02;
Start page: 61;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Counselor Attitudes | Professional Opinion | ASD | Autism Prevalence | Autism

ABSTRACT
The question of whether the prevalence increase observed in autism due to an actual increase in the incidence of autism is a matter of concern to professional psychologists, and has been a matter of debate. As professionals trained in diagnosis and research methodology, the opinions of psychologists are of interest. We report the results of what we believe to be the first survey of professional opinion on the topic. Results suggest that among professional psychologists with a terminal degree (n = 88), the majority believe that diagnostic changes can not fully account for the observed increase; 72% reported either the true rate may have, or definitely has, increased. In this sample, the professionals who are certain about the occurrence of a real increase (n=20) are five times as many as those who do not think the increase has occurred (n=4). These results are not meant to document whether or not an increase has or has not occurred, but instead speak to the question of consensus opinion among professional psychologists. What experts believe is an empirical question, and statements about what experts believe should be empirically based.
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