New Jersey? Which Exit? 1 in 14
There’s an old joke in the Northeast, when someone says they’re from New Jersey they ask “Which exit” like New Jersey is nothing but the turnpike. As we used to say as children: “It’s a joke about the location, you had to be there.” Ra ba bump. But the ever-increasing rates of autism in the Garden State are no joke.
By Anne Dachel
June 15 headline in the Asbury Park Press announced an autism rate in a school district in New Jersey one of 14 children. This is more bad news for the state, which already leads the nation on autism, one in 32 children.
Note that researcher and study author Walter Zahoradny again raises his arms in confusion, unable to explain what is going on. He also expects things to get worse.
(See my story about Zahoradny from last year)
The autism rate in NJ is still rising. Every 14th third grader in one district is affected
The autism rate of children in New Jersey has always been high, but some of the largest school districts – including Toms River, Newark, Jersey City, and Elizabeth – have rates that are even above the national average.
And in Toms River, the state’s largest suburban school district, autism rates are more than double the national average, with one in 14 8-year-olds in the district showing the autism spectrum, according to the first study comparing a cross-district portion of the State.
The Toms River autism rate is likely a harbinger of the rate all New Jersey counties will see soon, the study co-author said. In almost all of the 74 districts examined, the study showed a steady increase in the rate of autism students over time.
“It feels like some kind of science fiction” said Walter Zahorodny, study co-author and associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, of the data he is presenting to educational and parenting groups. To say that 7% of 8-year-olds in one school district – and 5% of 8-year-old boys across the state – have autism is shocking, he added, “but the reality is that it is true. And it cannot be explained. “…
As surveillance will continue in the coming years, “It is very likely that we will find more children with autism in what we consider to be underserved churches, ”he said.
The New Jersey numbers need to be taken seriously because, as we are often told, they do the best job of monitoring the incidence of autism. It seems we are on a downward trend that is only getting faster when it comes to what autism does to our children. We were warned, ‘It cannot be explained’ so learn how to deal with it. It is our future.