Autism Rates Triple in California Schools

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Joanna Lin over at the CaliforniaWatch.org highlights the latest findings on the rise of autism among California’s schools. Nationally, the rates of autism have been on the rise as well, although they vary from state to state. We still don’t know what causes autism, but as Kevin Drum has argued here, and here, we do know for sure that vaccines aren’t it. Meanwhile, in California, Lin writes:

“Special education students with autism in California have more than tripled in number since 2002, even as overall special education enrollment has remained relatively flat, according to an analysis of state education data.

More than 680,000 students—11 percent of all California public school students—are enrolled in special education. The number of students diagnosed with autism climbed from 17,508 in 2002 to 59,690 in 2010, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health found.

Students with autism represented 8.8 percent of all special education enrollment last year, up from 2.6 percent in 2002. Other health impairments—defined by the state as “limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems,” such as a heart condition, asthma, epilepsy or leukemia—are also on the rise, comprising 7.9 percent of disabilities among special education students.

 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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