President Donald Trump expressed his concern regarding the "tremendous increase" in autism rates in America in a recent meet with special education experts last Tuesday. He faced a panel of educators in a public audience and discussed what the government can do about students with autism.
Critics, however, have lashed out on the president for what he discussed in the panel. New York Magazine reports Trump seemed to believe the misconceptions and inaccuracies about autism.
"What's going on with autism? When you look at the tremendous increase, it's really, it's such an incredible...it's a really horrible thing to watch," the president said, according to MSNBC. Trump was told by Jane Quenneville, a school principal, that the autism rate is one in 68 children.
An expert said this rate doesn't suggest a significant or "tremendous increase" as the president believes. "The real debate is whether or not there has been a small increase, and there are a number of factors that could play a role in that small increase," Steve Silberman told New York Magazine.
Independent reports current data on autism rates has been the same since 2014 at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The one thing that significantly changed is an increase in autism awareness, but it would be improper to conclude that increased awareness means an increase in the number of children with the disorder.
The belief that autism is on the rise is common among anti-vaxxers, according to Business Insider. President Trump has been known to oppose vaccination believing it can cause autism, as he posted via a tweet in 2014.
Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2014
Trump's critics are also alarmed the president will likely choose an anti-vaxxer to head the Commission on Vaccine Safety, according to NBC News. They said the tendency for these anti-vaxxers to believe misconceptions and not actual facts is harmful and will set back decades of improvement in the perception of the disorder.
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