posted on Oct, 23 2006 @ 06:25 PM
Originally posted by Long Lance
Thanx a lot, very informative: up: however, i still don't get why the Amish do not suffer from autism at all, quite strange.
I had never heard this until now ... so I had to go poke my nose around and see what I could dig up.
First off there has never been a scientific study of the Amish and their rate of
Autism ... I'm sure they wouldn't allow one if they considered it too invasive to their privacy. Every place I look that says there are no autistic
Amish folk are all based on a article written by Dan Olmsted, a reporter. Here's an excerpt from his article:
Dan Olmsted's Amish Article link
So far, from sources inside and outside the Amish community, I have identified three Amish residents of Lancaster County who apparently have
full-syndrome autism, all of them children.
A local woman told me there is one classroom with about 30 "special-needs" Amish children. In that classroom, there is one autistic Amish child.
Another autistic Amish child does not go to school.
The third is that woman's pre-school-age daughter.
If there were more, she said, she would know it.
This method of "collecting" data can in no way be deemed accurate. He's not a doctor, therefore technically not able to diagnose autism, and he's
relying on 2nd or 3rd hand diagnosis of autism to determine there are insufficient numbers. Maybe they do have less than the rest of the population
but we can't suppose that from this reporters account. He also only took into account the Amish of Lancaster county in Pennsylvania.
Also his estimate that there should be 50+ full autistic and 100+ autistic children in Lancaster county amish country alone seems relatively high. He
bases this on the fact that currently 1 in 166 children are diagnosed with autism. He then took the current Amish population in Lancaster and divided
it by 166 ... coming up with a 100+ number. That sounds reasonable but doesn't actually fit the overall statistics. I'll explain why below.
There are an estimated 225,000 Americans that are autistic (Fighting Autism.org
), out of a total US
population of 300 mil that represents 0.00075% of total population. The total Amish communities across the states are approximately 198,000
) ... if we extrapolate the same percentage from the Amish
it would equate to 148 individuals, across the entire US not just in the one county. If we used the same logic to determine that 1 in 166 were
autistic that would mean there would currently be 1.8 million austic americans (a stark contrast to the 225K estimated).
Given the Amish community's propensity for being seperated from the current world it would not be surprising that we do not see their few autistic
children. There could be other factors at play that make them leave those children at home and not discuss them. An factual study would have to be
conducted to determine whether or not they are affected by autism at the same or similar rates to the general population.
As far as the TV issue ... the main topic of this thread ... I wonder if the correlation is more of a result of being autistic rather than a cause.
Since autistic children are very "seperate" from the rest of the world and exist in their own little place ... I wonder if they have a tendency to
be more willing to sit and stare at a tv. I doubt they are paying much attention to the TV rather than just staring at it ... the tv has way too much
stimuli for an autistic child ... but they have a great ability to tune out the world. The few autistic children I have known could spend hours
looking at a pattern or design that for some reason captivated them ... they can get so absorbed into it that they can literaly scream, kick and fight
if you try to get them to do so much as move to another room.