I'm talking about the claim by the medical community, health officials, educators, and a vast parade of reporters, that the epidemic in kids with autism and related disorders overwhelming our schools, is the result of "greater awareness" and "better diagnosing."
It's a crazy way to rationalize a health care disaster, but it works! I see it everyday in the press, usually backed up by quotes from a CDC official or a doctor. I've rarely, if ever, heard anyone in the mainstream media challenge people who make this pronouncement.
I'm constantly pointing out that the explosion in special needs kids in our school can't be explained away so simply, but no one seems to notice.
Although I have no proof of my belief, I'm inclined to think that the really big lie was started by some nameless individual deep within the recesses of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, being CDC officials never seem to tire of repeating the really big lie.
They never thought to add up the cumulative mercury totals with each new shot on the schedule and they had mandated each vaccine. The blame would fall squarely on their shoulders.
The CDC's response has been complete denial; after all if there was no real increase in disorders, everyone would be off the hook.
Thus was born the really big lie: There really aren't more children with autism. They've always been out there, we just didn't identify the problem as autism.
Like with all big lies, there must be proof to back it up and the CDC has given us lots of experts, studies, and findings of their own to do just that. I can't imagine the CDC getting away with the really big lie if it were used in attempt to explain away an epidemic of any disease affecting children, but because of the varied symptoms of the autism spectrum disorders, it seems to have worked for autism.
Since my son is almost 20, I've lived with the really big lie almost since its inception. In fact, I was probably among the first to hear it. This gives me a unique perspective and likely caused me to be a bit more skeptical about the really big lie than most people.
When John was three, his talking and interacting with people began to regress. It was so subtle that it's hard to remember when he first wasn't the alert, energetic little toddler he once was. Nobody seemed all that alarmed about it but me.
In the second grade in 1993, John was diagnosed as "possibly autistic" by a psychologist from Minneapolis. I'll never forget how she made the statement that autism was a "rare disorder."
She said that it was doubtful that John would ever be able to live independently or hold a job. It was all rather hopeless and I was left pretty much on my own when it came to finding information on autism. So much was said back then about the rareness of the disorder.