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Autism in America36:17
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photoIn the last fifteen years, the number of children with profound autism receiving services from the state of California has almost tripled. Last week, a new study appeared to confirm Californians' worst fears: that the surge in autism is not about an influx of sick children from out of state, or about a new definition of the affliction artificially inflating the numbers.

The new study says the skyrocketing number of children - and their families - now dealing with one of nature's most confounding developmental disabilities is truly exploding. And no one knows why.

A decade ago, it took Dustin Hoffman on the big screen to introduce most Americans to autism in "Rainman". At the California rate of explosion, you could soon find it closer to home.

This hour, On Point: the mystery of the autism epidemic.

Guests:

Marian Sigman, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles, investigator in the California Autism Study

Rick Rollens, co-founder of the MIND institute at the University of California at Davis, parent of an autistic son

Joseph Ricciardi, Psy.D. May Institute

This program aired on October 23, 2002.

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