Pre Thinking:

Fifty years ago the number of diagnosed cases of autism was very low; today the Center for Disease Control estimates that one in 68 children in America are somewhere on the Autism spectrum. What is the cause of this tremendous leap in numbers? Watch as Steve Silverman sheds some light.

After Silverman’s talk, go down to the bottom of the page and click on Reality Check.

Who is he:

He is an editor and writer for Wired magazine

Why should you listen:

He presents some unusual and seldom revealed insights into the growth of diagnosed cases of autism in this country.

Discussion questions:

  1. Conduct some research on the study that was published in Lancet that he mentions early in his talk. Why was it retracted? What follow up by that study’s author is being presented.
  2. He asks the question, “ Why were cases of autism so hard to find before the 1990?”. What is his answer.
  3. Describe Leo Kanner’s theory of autism.
  4. What is Hans Asperger’s alternative story of autism?
  5. What was the contribution of Lorna and Judith to the understanding of autism?
  6. What is “neurodiversity”? Give some examples other than those presented in the talk. Take a look at the talk by Temple Grandin. Is this what she is referring to when she says the world needs all kinds of minds?

Making connections:

While Steve Silberman says that most bright people would not believe that autism is linked vaccinations, this ABC Reality Check reveals something different. Take a look and see if the presented material affects how you view the following video…






The forgotten history of autism with Steve Silberman


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