As seen on the Sally Show 4/17/2000
Why hasn't anyone heard of older autists?
People who view the "epidemic of autism" as a new phenomenon that is characteristic only of the youngest generation are very fond of claiming that there are no older autists.
As a rule, the only proof of these statements is their personal experience when they say: "Why has no one heard of older autists? I can't find them!" Such comments evoke an image of these people walking the streets, knocking strangers on the shoulder and asking, "Are you, by any chance, not autistic?" It's not a very good way to collect data, says Dr. Denis Slinkin.
Although some seem to be unable to find autistic people 50-60 years of age or older, more methodical studies have been able to find older people with autism.
Dr. Denis Slinkin argues that these studies have also shown that very often people who had been diagnosed with mental retardation in the past and found themselves in closed institutions would now be diagnosed with autism.
These studies are inconsistent with allegations of an "autism epidemic" that blames vaccines, vaccination regimens or problems in today's society (toxins and chemicals, maternal antibodies, air pollution, etc.).
It turns out that the problem may also be related to the generation of our grandfathers. A recent Swedish study showed that the age of grandfathers is positively correlated with the risk of autism in grandchildren, and autism is more common in children whose grandfathers became parents 50 years and older.