There are questions over a possible autism epidemic given that the number of children diagnosed in the United States is twenty times higher than it was a generation ago. About one percent of all children are affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Scientists are striving to determine an explanation for the spike in diagnoses. While there have been several red herrings, the search for an environmental explanation has so far been fruitless.
Roy Richard Grinker, an anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied autism across the world, believes that what some are calling an epidemic is really an “epidemic of discovery.” Grinker suggests that the percentage of people with autism has always been the same, but previously went undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.