Autism: A Twenty-First Century Fad Magnet
In the past decade since the first version of this chapter was published, there have been impressive advances in the areas of autism research, advocacy, and intervention. Professionals in science, behavioral health, education, medicine, and public policy-as well as the public at large-are much more aware of the prevalence estimates and particularly of the dramatically higher rates than was thought to be the case in 2004 (Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 2010). In the field of education, the autism classification was incorporated as part of IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Regulations Part 300/A/300.8/c/1), opening the door for more targeted educational intervention services for this group of children. In testimony by the Comptroller General of the United States (2014), it was estimated that 1.2 billion dollars has been spent by federal agencies in research efforts related to autism between the years 2008 and 2012. Organizations such as ASAT (Association for the Advancement of Science in Autism) and Autism Speaks, among others, have emerged as effective forces for advocacy.