California Special Education autism counts, ages 3-5 over the past decade

27 Feb

The California Department of Developmental Services data, once called “the gold standard” for autism epidemiology by those promoting the vaccine-autism link, shows that autism rates are higher today for kids who did not receive thimerosal containing vaccines compared to those who did. This was discussed recently in No, the autism prevalence in California did not go down after removing thimerosal from vaccines.

Here are those data:
California SpEd age 3-5

As noted previously, thimerosal was removed from vaccines nationwide, phasing out production by 2001. California passed a law prohiting the administration of vaccines with thimerosal in pregnant women and children under 3 from 2006 onwards. So, kids 3-5 in 2012 did not receive thimerosal from vaccines. And there are more kids in the Autism special ed category in 2012 than in any year previously. The trend is a relatlively smooth increase over time.

It is very clear that these data do not in any way indicate a drop in the increase in autism special ed rates with the removal of thimerosal.

Add to that, vaccine uptake in general and MMR in specific are not changing much over time.

Special Ed data and CDDS data are not the best for tracking autism, especially in such a raw form as this. But these are exactly the tools that were used for years to promote the idea that vaccines cause autism. I don’t think it is a coincidence that there aren’t webistes and discussions devoted to special education any more. I’ll await the claim that it must be the rotavirus vaccine…which contains neither thimerosal, measles virus or aluminum.

By Matt Carey

15 Responses to “California Special Education autism counts, ages 3-5 over the past decade”

  1. brian February 28, 2013 at 18:17 #

    On the eve of the publication of a paper that demonstrated the continuing increase in ASD following dramatic reduction in the exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines in California, Mark Blaxill wrote: “I’d emphasize one feature of the autism-thimerosal hypothesis that is often overlooked. As a causal hypothesis for the increasing autism rates, it is a highly parsimonious hypothesis. By that I mean the causal theory was specific, testable and extremely simple to evaluate. . . From the point of view of children’s health, it would have been wonderfully good news if the most parsimonious form of the hypothesis had been proven correct. The single causative agent would have been removed, autism rates would have plummeted, future families and children would have been spared the heartbreak so many of us have suffered, and the childhood immunization program (not to mention global manufacturing and its associated emissions) could continue forward secure in the knowledge that a tragic mistake had been discovered and corrected . . . Tomorrow, a study by Robert Schechter and Judy Grether will be published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. They report what I have known for several years now: that the rates of autism in California (properly adjusted for birth year and age at time of data collection) have gone steadily upward.” Blaxill continued: “The continued increases in autism rates provide strong evidence against the idea that early thimerosal exposure, and only thimerosal exposure, is causing the increased population rates of autism.”

    Years later, it’s even more obvious that the idea that Blaxill promoted is well and truly dead. It’s been interesting, though, to see Blaxill and his fellow travelers strain to move the goalposts: it’s the aluminum, or, or, the total vaccine schedule, or, um, mercury from the cremation of bodies with dental amalgam, or, yeah, coal burning in China, or . . . something that somehow, some way, just MUST be tied to mercury in vaccines.

    • brian February 28, 2013 at 20:36 #

      From the link posted above, here are the five conditions that must be present if someone is to become a more fervent believer after a failure or disconfirmation:

      (1) A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he behaves.

      (2) The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it . . .

      (3) The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.

      (4) Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.

      (5) The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, the belief may be maintained and the believers may attempt to proselytize or persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

      Predictably, then, Blaxill and his fellow travelers at Age of Autism seem even more convinced that they are right BECAUSE the evidence has shown that their long-cherished beliefs are wrong.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 28, 2013 at 21:18 #

        Mr. Blaxill’s organization stated in 2004:

        The dramatic rise in autism rates correlates with the increase in mercury doses. Thimerosal was first marketed in the mid 1930’s and autism was first described as a new never before seen disorder in 1943, in children born in the 1930’s.

        In 2009, they were already shifting to their current message:

        SafeMinds has also focused on the link between autism and vaccines. There is substantial evidence that in a substantial portion of autism cases, vaccines are the final trigger to toxic overload. SafeMinds has long maintained that the high-mercury vaccines has contributed to autism, and there is growing evidence that the low-mercury and no-mercury vaccines may also contribute to a synergistic toxicity leading to autism.

        Note the–mercury free vaccines also contribute phrase. They started hedging their bets a while back.

    • Ron Davidson September 20, 2013 at 03:55 #

      For future reference, so you might better argue as well as better educate yourself. Wiki is in no way recognized as acceptable scholarly source. It it contains links to valid sources then post those otherwise you’d do well not to cite it.

  2. M. Fischer March 3, 2013 at 23:35 #

    Assuming that we are not looking at “Cigarette Science” and there is no connection between Autism and thimerosal or for that matter Autism and Vaccines, why isn’t the government and the world frantically trying to find out what is causing autism. Instead we hear nonsense about better diagnosis and then we see all the paid shills trying to convince us it is some genetic epidemic that our ancestors were too stupid to notice. How can 1 in 32 Utah boys be diagnosed with Autism and we fight over what it isn’t rather that find out what it is.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 4, 2013 at 04:47 #

      There are a lot of the common failed arguments there.

      Lets start with the paid shills thing. If you’ve got evidence of where people pay, give me a link. I have never paid for writing.

      People were not “too stupid to notice” autism. But it is a fact that a lot of autistics were and still are missed. Multiple studies have shown that many people in the past would have gotten autism diagnoses by today’s standards.

      There is no genetic epidemic? Really? How do you account for the increased prevalence of Down Syndrome? Older age parents have a greater likelihood of having children with genetic differences. Older age parents have a greater likelihood of having autistic children, as well as Down syndrome children.

      Is that all the reason for the increase? No. There are huge social influences in the rise. There may be an increase. There may be factors that are decreasing. Like congenital rubella syndrome (which has decreased due to vaccination)

  3. Steven Fischer March 4, 2013 at 02:11 #

    If we assume that the nominal population of California hasn’t changed by more than a few percent since 2000, when the Autism rate (full-blown) was widely stated as around 1 in 100, the graph indicates a 3 fold increase in the number of autistics which would translate to 1 in 33 (full-blown?) today. This is absurd. If the rates of autism had tripled, it would indicate that we should all start considering ending it all since life would be intolerable. Clearly, the diagnosis and/or definition has changed.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 4, 2013 at 04:04 #

      I realize that people still buy into “better dead than autistic” but to so boldly put in online, with your name attached?

      You make a number of poor assumptions. California has never limited itself to “full blown” autism. There is no category “full blown” autism. People working on the DSM 5 found that in California pdd-nos and Asperger diagnoses are rare. People know the services are in the autism label.

      Also, your math and assumptions are poor. Don’t be lazy, work out the real administrative prevalence. Don’t start from a bad assumption.

      • Steven Fischer March 4, 2013 at 14:32 #

        I didn’t say “better dead than autistic”. What I said was if that life would be unbearable as a whole if we had a 1 in 33 full blown autism ratio wave coming at us.

        I don’t believe such a wave is coming. I believe a pharma fueled propaganda wave, coordinated effort between pharma and the CDC to rewrite the definitions, vested interest of a large network of service providers to insure the supply of subjects for their recently created career fields, in the wake of a wave of full-blown autism that is trailing off after the elimination of many of the factors dismissed in the original blog.

        As an affected parent, with minimal available services in the early 90s, who has seen this disorder go from unheard of in 1990 to common in 2000, with, today, service providers on every corner of affluent communities it seems.

        10 years ago, I routinely ran into severely afflicted young children in public. Today I rarely encounter them. The last time was at a support/services group and those just happened to be military defendants. Who vaccinates young child-dependants more than the military? If my experiences in the Air Force are any guide, nobody.

        I don’t have the stamina to spend extensive time fueling these debates with pseudo technical points. I’ll leave that to what seems to be legions of pharma marketing trolls out there.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 4, 2013 at 15:22 #

        Right. That’s kinder.

        So, having made a unsupported claims (e.g. the “wave ” is trailing off) you depart using baseless accusations ( pharma shill).

        I hadn’t heard the military angle before. It’s odd what thin gruel supports the vaccine-epidemic cause.

      • Lara Lohne March 4, 2013 at 16:40 #

        A few things you should be made aware of, because you obviously don’t seem to fully understand (even with being involved in the autism community for as long as you say) is that autism is not developmental stasis, but delay and those ‘severely afflicted young people’ you saw previously, may have progressed to appear not to severely affected. If I recall correctly, it was in 1994 when the DSM IV was released and that was when the diagnostic criteria was made dramatically broader from what it previously was (where a great many who actually were autistic, save but one characteristic according to previous definitions, were instead labeled as Mentally Retarded [the term used then]) but by today’s standards do actually fall under the ASD umbrella. Perhaps, in a desire to correctly label those individuals, as well as attempt to catch so many others that were missed entirely, the diagnostic definitions were made too broad, including in it those who can lead independent lives, but still are found to be socially awkward but not actually ‘disabled’. If I also recall from my reading, it was in 1994 that the increase in autism cases began to rise. To me, that is a lot more compelling evidence then anything relating to the vaccine causation claim.

        Since autism and it’s related disorders are a spectrum, there are many, many ways that it can manifest in a variety of different people. There is the entire range of human behavior and if that entire spectrum is looked at and the autistic spectrum added to it, the differences in behaviors from the least severely affected to profoundly affected, everybody in the world falls within that spectrum, and the differences are not that vast, really. So honestly, if one really thinks about it from the humanity perspective, everybody everywhere falls somewhere on that spectrum. I myself found I was one point from possibly being considered ‘ASD’. If I took that same test on a day when I wasn’t feeling my best, or even remotely less positive, I most likely would have been at least one, maybe more points, on the other side of that line.

        Autism is not a disease, it is not something that needs to be feared, it is a spectrum of different neurologies and each individual CAN (if they are given the chance) become more then what a person with limited or normal neurology can even imagine. The problem isn’t that there is an autism epidemic, but there is an epidemic of self pitying parents who look at their beautiful child and can only see disappointment. I know what it feels like to have a parent look at you like that. You may think they aren’t aware, but that is your own limited ability to see from another’s perspective. These are people, they think, they feel and are much more aware then you could possibly understand. Our job, as parents, is not to raise a child to be who we want them to be, but to give the child they are the love and support to grow into the individual they were meant to be. If a person cannot look at their child and see unlimited potential, regardless of their neurology, then they really shouldn’t be a parent to begin with.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 5, 2013 at 01:24 #

        ” If I also recall from my reading, it was in 1994 that the increase in autism cases began to rise. To me, that is a lot more compelling evidence then anything relating to the vaccine causation claim.”

        People make this claim. The data from Denmark point to a rise beginning before the removal of thimerosal (early 1990’s). The CDDS data points to the current increase starting in the late 1970’s. Both datasets are based on administrative data (i.e. who is getting services and/or who was identified rather than doing a full-population search).

        “were instead labeled as Mentally Retarded [the term used then]) but by today’s standards do actually fall under the ASD umbrella.”

        Peter Bearman’s work indicates that a large fraction were labeled as MR with no autism and would now be labeled as MR+autism. That is diagnostic accretion, and is different from diagnostic substitution. There was also a study out last year looking at the UCLA/Utah study from the 1980’s. They found that a large fraction of previously “non autistics” were, in fact, autistic. The IQ’s for that newly identified group was much lower than that of the group identified in the 1980’s. So when people think that the “hidden horde” is autistics without intellectual disability, they are mistaken.


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