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Debating what is driving high autism rates in Orange County




General view during the World Landmarks Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day.
General view during the World Landmarks Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day.
Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

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Disability researchers from Chapman University argue the sharp rise of autism cases in Orange County - which saw an eightfold increase since 2000 - could be attributed to how psychologists are diagnosing the condition.

To clarify, the researchers suggest children who once were categorized as having one type of developmental disability are being now being shifted into the autism or ADHD category as a result of better diagnosis. Amy-Jane Griffiths, Ph.D., and Professor Donald Cardinal, Ph.D., point to “diagnostic migration” as being the leading cause of what some see as an alarming rise of autism.

However, the advocacy group Autism Speaks says diagnosis alone does not account for a higher prevalence and more work must be done to uncover causes of the condition.

Inaugural Disability Summit Report 

Guest:

Dr. Amy-Jane Griffiths, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Study co-author of Chapman  University’s Disability Summit’s Report; Co-founding Director, Thomson Policy Institute at Chapman University