Last week I attended a program honoring 10 years of the McGovern Institute and its study of the brain. Among the speakers, Gerald Fischbach, M.D. of The Simons Foundation, stood out to me as he shared the work being done in understanding autism. He also explained that we are not in the middle of an autism explosion, as some media would like you to believe. Instead, we are now able to classify people who have other disabilities in addition to autism. So, we are seeing people with autism and intellectual disability, autism and bi-polar, autism and Down syndrome, etc. The actual numbers of individuals with just autism has not changed but, we are now able to include in the autism spectrum and the numbers being counted, people with autism in addition to other conditions.
Jane Pauley, who shared her own story of mental illness and Alan Alda were also among the evening's speakers.