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Elsewhere – 10-year study reveals autism not national epidemic

By Ann Babe

Badger Herald (U. Wisconsin)

(U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis.-A University of Wisconsin scientist is challenging recent rumors of a national autism epidemic, pointing to a new study.

The study was conducted by Paul Shattuck, a researcher at the UW Waisman Center, in response to a set of statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education.

The statistics-which span from 1992 to 2002-reveal a more than 15,100 percent increase in autistic children in Wisconsin.

Shattuck instead attributed the tremendous increase in autism to a change in the classification system of special-education children.

“My hope is that this research helps people put these numbers in perspective,” Shattuck said. “Most people don’t realize that autism was not added as a separate reporting category until the 1990s.”

Department of Education spokesman Jim Bradshaw concurred, adding that Congress did not formerly require the department to collect statistics specific to autism.

April 7, 2006

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