Yeah. My oldest son was "diagnosed’ with Pervasive Development Disorder because his speech is delayed by a few years. Back before we expected kids to be sitting still and doing schoolwork at age 4 this would have never even been noticed other than “he’s kind of quiet” (at 4, he had roughly the verbal skills of a 2 yr old). But now he is on the “autism spectrum”.
Now that he’s 7 he has the verbal skills of a 5 yr old (or more) and is rapidly catching up to his peers. By the time he’s 21 and has the verbal skills of a 19 yr old, he’s just be an intensely focused, kind of quiet person who will be fine, productive member of society (well, probably a bit of a video game geek, but who knows). Yet he is chalked up with all the other stats in the rise of autism.
Which is really, the rise in autism diagnosis. But explaining that subtlety can be tough, and is zero comfort to someone whose children really do have autism, and are grasping at straws for someone to blame. I can almost understand that – it’s emotionally heartwrenching to be a father and not know whether your child will ever interact with other people in a “normal” way. I have a lucky story – my son is smart and caring and empathetic, and just happens to have a language disorder that is mitigated by time. Others are looking at a much harder future for their children, and that is very hard to take.
It’s no excuse for bad science, though.