Media Reflection on Autism

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Epidemic is defined as spreading rapidly among individuals in an area or a contagious disease that spreads rapidly. Myth is defined as a fiction or half-truth. In a recent article in Time magazine, writer Claudia Wallis proposes a question "Is the Autism Epidemic a Myth?" When did autism become an epidemic? And why should the epidemic be a myth? In this article, Wallis bases her questioning on anthropologist Roy Grinker and his new book "In Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism", as a source for some of the answers. In Grinker's opinion, the change in cultural conditions and people's definitions and perspectives have changed throughout the years. He uses the resources that have now become available, to analyze the sudden increase to people affected by autism. According to "Abnormal Psychology", Mash & Wolfe, during the 17th and 18th centuries, if a parent were to have a child with a physical/mental incapability, disability or deformity, they were considered an embarrassment to society and should have be scorned, abandoned or put to death. Since parents didn't know what to do with their child, they would sometimes lock them up in cages like animals and hide them from society and sometimes their own self. As time went on, culture conditions and definitions started to change. Now in the 20th century, we're more understanding that a child is not an animal because he/she has a disorder. Grinker points out that one of the reasons that there is a sudden increase in the number of people affected is that schools are now starting to recognize autism as a disorder and even relabeled the children that were given other diagnoses to being autistic. Schools are now required to supply these children with special-education services. More services are becoming available and more parents are stepping out of the darkness and seeking out a diagnosis to this disorder they have struggled with for years. Even though Wallis based most of her article on the views of an...
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