Teens have a phone? Read “American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers”

american girlsNancy Jo Sales writes in “American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers,” (Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95), about a generation of girls who are social media pioneers. She followed groups of girls from California to New York and places in between from the time they were 13 to the time they were 19. Interviewing them once a year about the effects of social media on their lives.

Sales writes: “One of the things that continually struck me over the course of my reporting was the similarity of girls’ experiences on social media regardless of their race or background.”

One girl acknowledged: “Social media lets you make a lot of impulsive decisions. And the younger you get a phone, the more impulsive your decisions are and then you get older and you just keep doing the same things from there.”

It’s clear from the time they were 13, that they felt sexualized by the boys and demeaned by the girls.

“I think what made me feel worst was the sense I got from many girls that they felt disrespected,” Sales writes in her conclusion.

This is a book that will shock you about just how prevalent sexting and cyberbulling are. You could say, “not my daughter, not my son,” but clearly with the number of girls she interviewed, something is happening.

Sales cites a 2007 American Psychological Association report that found: “It isn’t that girls and women haven’t been exploited for their sexuality before; of course they have; but sexualization has become a prevailing mode, influencing how girls see themselves, as well as how they present themselves.”

On the idolization of Kim Kardashian and the need to post sexualized pictures of themselves, the girls told her:

“Girls post pictures of their bodies and say they’re body positive and everyone’s like ‘You’re so beautiful.’ But they’re not body confident. They’re Photoshopping their bodies and editing their pictures. They say they’re confident in their bodies, which is totally ironic — if you post a picture of yourself on Instagram to feel confident, then you’re not.”

They do realize why girls are doing it:  “More provocative equals more likes.”

“It attracts more guys and then it makes other girls think about doing it just for attention. They’re attention whores.”

Sales cites writer Jean Kilbourne: “The biggest problem is that girls are only being given one way of thinking about what is beautiful and sexy and it’s a very porn-star, cliched way. There’s a much wider, broader variety of choices of how to be sexy than the Victoria’s Secret way.”

Sales found girls who had jumped on the YouTube band wagon and wanted to become YouTube stars. It was like they were leading double lives or becoming the YouTube star their “fans” wanted them to be:

One girl said: “My whole YouTube social media thing is all around what people want from me. At the end of my videos, I’ll always ask, ‘What do you want to see next?’ ‘Cause they’re everything to me. They’re all my views … so I definitely want to do what they want.”

Social media has changed the way that girls and boys date, too.

One girl said: “There’s no such thing as dating anymore. I watch really cute, like high school movies, and we don’t have that. It’s so sad. Like I wonder, “What’s it like to go on a date?” There are couples, but they way they get together is they hook up at a party and he’ll ask for her number. They make out and then it goes from there. … It all starts with hooking up.”

While social media had girls knowing exactly what their peers were doing: “I love social media. Literally, that’s our entire life. All day I’m checking Twitter. If I don’t know where my friends are, I just go on Twitter, ’cause they post what they’re doing.”

Yet, they weren’t developing as close a relationship with their peers because of social media.

People share each other’s texts without their permission by taking screenshots and posting them. One girl and her friends said: “I have terrible trust issues. Ever since middle school and everybody got their phones. I don’t feel like I can trust anyone.”

“And you feel betrayed.”

“Over and over.”

Sales reminds: cyberbullying victims are nearly twice as likely to have attempted suicide, as well as more likely to have suicidal thoughts, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center.

So, why don’t the girls just put down their phones and stop posting.

“Social Media is destroying our lives.”

“Then why don’t you go off it?” Sales asks.

“Because then we would have no life.”

Yet, the girls want their parents to realize what is going on, and to help them navigate this new world, but without getting them in trouble.

One girl and her friend: “I think that parents literally need to knock some sense into their kids and watch what their kids are doing… ’cause I feel like a lot of kids are sneaking it behind their parents backs.”

“They don’t want their parents to know what’s really going on ’cause they’re afraid they’ll take away their phones.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards winners

Wednesday night, the winners of the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards were announced at the Long Center. The awards are created in partnership with the Long Center, the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts and Zach Theatre.

High-schoolers perform their productions at the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards.
High-schoolers perform their productions at the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards.

 

Best Production                                              

Hendrickson High School                              “Urinetown: The Musical”

 

Best Direction

Hendrickson High School                              “Urinetown: The Musical”

 

gahsmta2Best Choreography

Cedar Ridge High School                               “AIDA”

 

Best Musical Direction

James Bowie High School                             “Tarzan”

 

Best Orchestra 

James Bowie High School                           “Tarzan”

 

Best Scenic Design

Round Rock High School                                                “Mary Poppins”

 

Best Lighting Design

Rouse High School                                           “Guys and Dolls”

 

Best Costume Design

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School                  “The Addams Family”

 

Best Technical Execution

Vista Ridge High School                                “Young Frankenstein”

 

Best Ensemble

McCallum Fine Arts Academy                     “Titanic”

 

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Pedro Castenada (Hendrickson High School)       “Urinetown: The Musical”

 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Sophie Niles (McNeil High School)                            “Little Shop of Horrors”

 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Harmon Gamble (Hendrickson High School)         “Urinetown: The Musical”

 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Chloe Byars (James Bowie High School)                 “Tarzan”

 

Best Featured Performer (TIE)

Kayja Thomas (Cedar Creek High School)                              “Footloose”

 

Scholarship Recipients

Kaitlin Hatton, DJ Fortner, David Pena, Jesse Hernandez, Joseph Kelley, Alex Poole, Tristan Banuelos, Alyssa Anderson, Audrey Dickerson, Makasha Copeland, Adele Simms

 

School Grants

Bastrop High School

Del Valle High School

Georgetown High School

John B. Connally High School

David Crockett High School

More Boy Scouts are becoming Eagle Scouts nationally, locally

Every February, Eagle Scouts gather for a reception at Frank Fickett Scout Training and Service Center in Austin. They each get called to the front to be recognized. Mark Matson
Every February, Eagle Scouts gather for a reception at Frank Fickett Scout Training and Service Center in Austin. They each get called to the front to be recognized. Mark Matson

At a time when boys have more extracurricular choices than ever and more demands from school, more nationwide are choosing to become Eagle Scouts, the Boy Scouts of America’s highest achievement. The 2015 class nationwide was the fourth largest class ever — more than 54,00 achieved that rank, which represents about 6.57 percent of eligible scouts.

Locally, Capital Area Council also has seen its numbers rising. Last year, 383 scouts in the council’s 15 counties became Eagle Scouts. The council saw a bump in Eagle Scouts around its centennial in 2012, with 443 new Eagle Scouts that year. Since then the numbers have stayed close to 400. The decade before, only about 300 local boys were becoming Eagle Scouts each year.

Nationally, Boy Scouts celebrated a centennial in 2010, which added to those numbers.

Charles Mead, who is the director of marketing and public relations for the local council and himself an Eagle Scout, says the goal of Boy Scouts is more than creating Eagle Scouts. “By the time they finish being involved in our program, they are a little more adept in how do you reach those goals. They are more self-secure, have more leadership skills, they’ve thought about what kind of person they want to become. It’s about character development. … We’re trying to produce people to grow into better citizens.”

But, he says, “If they become an Eagle Scout, that’s fantastic.”

Eagle Scout is something to put on college applications and resumes. If you have have earned Eagle Scout rank or a Girl Scout Gold Award, you can enter the military a rank ahead of someone without that designation.

“Business owners say when they see somebody put Eagle Scout on their college or job application, it might not get you admitted or get you the job, but it gets you past the first step,” Mead says. “This is somebody who you can take seriously, who will get the job done.”

To become an Eagle Scout, boys, beginning around sixth grade, move through the different ranks leading up to Eagle and earn at least 21 merit badges. Of those badges, 13 are specifically required; the other eight can be chosen to reflect a boy’s personal interests. Merit badges cover things like emergency preparedness, environmental science, communication, first aid, personal fitness, swimming and more.

“It’s everything you need to be successful in life,” Mead says.

Ryan Beltran, a senior at Westwood High School, built a rosary trail at Eagle Wings Retreat Center for his Eagle Scout project. Andrew McCully, left, Connor Smith, Rishi Agrawal and Jason Dolan, far right, help Ryan Beltran, second from right, mix concrete.
Ryan Beltran, a senior at Westwood High School, built a rosary trail at Eagle Wings Retreat Center for his Eagle Scout project. Andrew McCully, left, Connor Smith, Rishi Agrawal and Jason Dolan, far right, help Ryan Beltran, second from right, mix concrete.

After that work is complete, they do a project that has to benefit a community group, school or religious institution. Many projects involve building something like a garden or a fitness area. Scouts have to plan and develop the project, including raising all of the funding and recruiting and organizing volunteers to do the project. Everything has to be completed before they turn 18, though there are special circumstances where that has been extended.

Many projects involve about 300 hours of volunteer hours to get done, including the scout’s own hours. There is no minimum number of hours required, though. By the time they start work on their own project, they likely have helped other scouts with their projects, too.

Potential Eagle Scouts have to get the project approved before they start. A committee at the unit level (a smaller group within the council where the boy and his troop belong) makes sure the project meets the requirements, is feasible and has safety issues addressed, and that the action steps for the future plan are included in detail and that the scout is on the right track to getting it finished. Ultimately, an Eagle Scout presents the project to five different levels, including the scoutmaster, the unit committee, the organization it will benefit, the council’s board of review and the national advancement team.

“There’s a learning experience there,” Mead says. “It’s not enough to have a good idea, but you also have to convince others.”

The program requires a lot of adult volunteers to get scouts past the initial requirements and help them make sure they have thought of everything to get their project approved. Yes, there’s probably some parental nudging going on, too, but the program is designed for boys to work with adults other than their parents, even if their parent is the scoutmaster.

How long it takes to complete the project and get it approved varies. Some boys can do it in a couple of months. Others it takes about a year. Mead says, usually where kids trip up is not having enough depth in planning the fundraising and not understanding exactly what it will take to accomplish the project.

Boys learn good project managing skills: time management, multitasking, leadership, communication and problem solving.

For Israel Quintanilla III, a senior at Gateway College Preparatory School, the project itself wasn’t as difficult as the previous requirements and the paperwork involved. “It takes a long time to get to the project,” he says. “Everything before it is really stressful and takes a lot of energy.

Often, scouts find managing other scouts the most challenging part of the service project.

Quintanilla created an outdoor fitness area for VFW Post 8787. “The hardest part was getting all the scouts focused,” he says. “They were younger and were fairly new to the program. They didn’t know how to take orders correctly. They were messing around.”

Chris Donnell, a senior at Hendrickson High School, built raised beds for Pflugerville Community Garden for his Eagle Scout project.
Chris Donnell, a senior at Hendrickson High School, built raised beds for Pflugerville Community Garden for his Eagle Scout project.

By engaging younger boys, Quintanilla was helping to prepare them to possibly do their own Eagle project one day.

Chris Donnell, a Hendrickson High School senior, built raised garden beds for Pflugerville Community Garden. He managed 15 volunteers on the day they were building the gardens, but by the time he had gotten to his project, he had helped many other scouts with their projects. “It’s teaching you how to have leadership effectively,” he says.

Once they earn their Eagle Scout rank, there’s still more they can do. Ryan Beltran, a senior at Westwood High School, completed his project in March 2013. He built a rosary trail at Eagle Wings Retreat Center in Burnet. Now he’s helping teach younger scouts how to earn their merit badges. He returns to Eagle Wings occasionally to do maintenance on the trail.

“It’s a big project looking at it,” he says. “I’m proud to see it again and to know that I had built that.”

Did you become an Eagle Scout?

Send us a photo of your project or receiving the rank to readerphotos@statesman.com.

Should you take your kids to see “The Jungle Book”?

Shere Khan the tiger, voiced by Idris Elba, appears in a scene from, "The Jungle Book." Disney
Shere Khan the tiger, voiced by Idris Elba, appears in a scene from, “The Jungle Book.” Disney

Confession: I loved the 1967 version of “The Jungle Book” from Disney. There’s nothing better than Louie Prima as King Louie the orangutan and Phil Harris as Baloo the bear. You know you want to sing with me: “Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife.”

So what happens when Jon Favreau and company use computer-generated animals that look so lifelike in a new “The Jungle Book?”

First, you should know this film is beautiful to watch. You feel like you’re in the jungle watching a nature documentary, except of course the animals talk and sing. Kids will love that …

But, because the animals are so real, they are also really scary. Disney movies always have had scary parts. Think about the dragon scene in “Sleeping Beauty” or the witch in “Snow White” or Ursula in “The Little Mermaid.”

The difference is that those movies are cartoons and they are cartoon scary. This “Jungle Book” feels real and really scary.

The tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba), is scary to look at with a burned face and a damaged eye. And then we get to see him come right at us out of nowhere time and again, and yes, we get to see him kill another animal.

King Louie (Christopher Walken) doesn’t feel like a Walken caricature, he feels like this gigantic boogeyman who hides in the shadows, then sings a song (what???), then hunts down little Mowgli to try to make him one of his slaves.

Even our heroes Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and Baloo (Bill Murray) have some scary moments as they creep up on us or injure animals.

Yes, this movie doesn’t shy from the realities of nature, but with jokes that are made for a kid audience and songs for a kid audience, the violence is not for a kid audience.

This movie is officially rated PG, and yes, there is no nudity, no foul language, but there is a lot of realistic violence. Think twice before bringing a toddler, a preschooler, even a young gradeschooler. You might want to save it until they are older or until they can watch it at your home with the lights on and you beside them.

Read our official review by Joe Gross online Thursday at austin360.com or in print on Friday.

From Lululemon a line for active girls, Ivivva, opens at the Domain

Ivivva opens on Saturday at the Domain.
Ivivva opens on Saturday at the Domain.

The new Ivivva store at the Domain opens on Saturday. Ivivva is a store for girls sizes 6-14 from activewear brand Lululemon. Find athletic wear for dance, yoga, running and more activities.

The grand opening party is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The first 50 guests will get a goody bag and there will be a live band, selfie stations, a graffiti mural wall and a goal card creation station.

Find Ivivva at 11410 Century Oaks Terrace (across from North Italia). ivivva.com

Join your TV friends when Austin’s Red River Street becomes Sesame Street

Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby and their friends welcome Grover's friend from India to Sesame Street at "Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend."
Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby and their friends welcome Grover’s friend from India to Sesame Street at “Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend.”

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? Why, yes, I can.

Friday, a part of Red River Street by the Erwin Center will turn into Sesame Street with help from the Sesame Street residents who are in town for their show”Make a New Friend.” The street changes at 3 p.m. Friday. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo will be on hand as well as two special guests. The event is free and parking is available in the Trinity Garage.

Remember that this are of Red River is under construction because of the new Dell Seton Medical Center, so leave yourself enough time.

And if you want to see “Sesame Street” in action, “Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend,” is at the Erwin Center Friday-Sunday.

Here are the times and information:

“Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend.” Chamki is far from home, but the Sesame Street friends find ways to help her out. 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. $15-$70. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. texasboxoffice.com.

Help the Thinkery by decorating the new Nordstrom with fish tiles

You can paint fist tiles to be used at the new Nordstrom.
You can paint fist tiles to be used at the new Nordstrom.

This seems like a cool opportunity:

Your children could make a permanent addition to the children’s department at the new Nordstrom at the Domain store. While the store isn’t opening until Sept. 30, children ages 6-12 can paint fish-themed ceramic tiles on April 16 at the Thinkery. All the tiles will be used on the service counters in the Kids’ Wear department.

Tile artist Charlie Bigger will lead the painting and there will be snacks, activities and giveaways. The event is expected to raise about $7,000 for Thinkery educational programs.

Tickets are $35 per child. Sign up for sessions  — 9 a.m, 10:30 a.m., noon, 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. — at thinkery-tiles.eventbrite.com. Everything is happening at the Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Scottish Rite Theater’s “The Town Musicians of Mumbai” brings fun for the preschool set to the stage

mumbaiSeeing family theater at Scottish Rite is a different experience than the other theaters in town. A young audience can sit on a carpeted area in front of the stage while their parents sit in the seats behind or to the side. This makes this young audience feel like they really are a part of the show. Even as they wait for the show to start, the audience is invited to color their coloring page programs with the provided crayons.

When Scottish Rite turns the classic fable, “The Town Musicians of Bremen,” into the Bollywood version, “The Town Musicians of Mumbai,” the audience feels like they are in the forest with the animals and the robbers. So much so that when Donkey (Sean Gajjar), breaks the fourth wall and wonders out loud about what he’s going to do now that the farmer wants to put him out to pasture, the young audience has no problem answering him, even if he didn’t really ask for their help. In many ways, this production invites this from the fourth wall breaking to the group chicken dance at the end.

The dancing and the music give this production its energy. Live music from the Sacred Cowgirls Band — Pauravi Rana on keyboard, Marguerite Elliott on violin, and Kim Roche on bass — keeps the play moving along and gives the audience different ways to experience the story.

Donkey decides to head to the big city of Mumbai to become a singer. After all, he believes he has a great voice (It is very evident when you hear him braying that he does not). Off he goes through the forest to get to Mumbai. Meanwhile, we meet two bumbling robbers (Robert Deike and Chris Humphrey) who have stolen gold, fabrics and food from a wedding party. They run from a tiger and find a cave for their hideout.

Along Donkey’s journey, he meets a Dog (Minnie Homchowdhury), who is so old that her master is going to send her to the animal shelter because she can no longer be a watchdog. Dog also has a lovely howl (not really) and decides to join Donkey in Mumbai. Then they meet Cat (Preya Patel), who has a screeching meow, and has been replaced by a cute kitten. The merry band of musicians is complete when they meet Rooster (Megan Ortiz), who is going to be put in the curry pot, and has a lovely ear-ringing cockadoodledoo.

As each new member joins the team, we are treated to a performance of animal song and dance. Each animal has its own way of moving that is indicative of its species that goes along with the group choreography.

Meanwhile, the robbers are enjoying their feast, when they settle down for the night. Along comes the musicians, who see the feast, and decide to sing for their supper.

Of course, the robbers can’t make out that its just a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster that have invaded their cave. They run off, leaving their riches for the musicians to enjoy.

Scottish Rite Theater is truly a theater where you could bring any age and it would be OK. In fact, on Saturday morning, we saw kids from toddlers to grade-schoolers as well as their parents and grandparents. We even saw a father bring his adult daughter, who had developmental delays, and she could enjoy theater just as much as the kids on the carpet without judgement. This was also some of the most diverse audiences we’ve seen at local family theater shows, both in age, heritage and language spoken at home.

At 45 minutes, it’s a short show that moves quickly, making it a great introduction to theater for younger audiences.

“The Town Musicians of Mumbai”

11 a.m. Saturday through April 30; 1 p.m. Sundays through May 1. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theatre, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org.

 

Moms, Dr. Amy Tuteur wants you to stop feeling guilty your lack of natural child birth, breast-feeding, attachment parenting

Dr. Amy Tuteur wrote "Push Back."
Dr. Amy Tuteur wrote “Push Back.”

Dr. Amy Tuteur wants mothers to stop feeling guilty if they didn’t experience idyllic, natural childbirth; if they didn’t breast-feed and if they didn’t co-sleep and or practice attachment parenting.

In her book “Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting,” Tuteur gives plenty of reason for women to feel OK with whatever childbirth experience they had, however they decide to feed their babies and whatever parenting practice works for them. What she doesn’t want is for their experiences to be hijacked by people and groups who label themselves experts and their sanctimommy followers. Yes, she’s talking about you, midwives, La Leche League followers and Dr. William Sears, the guru behind attachment parenting.

Tuteur, a Boston-area obstetrician, wrote her book in response to seeing women in tears after giving birth because they couldn’t follow their birthing plan. They felt like failures when they had to be induced or if they had to have a Cesarean section or chose an epidural.

This guilt is a recent phenomenon, she says. Before the 1970s, women worried about surviving the birth and the health of their baby. And then, the natural childbirth movement came on strong and women were encouraged not to have an epidural and even not to have a hospital birth at all.

PushBack HC jacketWomen forgot that the day they give birth is the most dangerous day in their lives, she says. They forget the mothers and babies still die in childbirth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2013 that 18.5 mothers out of 100,000 die in childbirth and 6.1 infants die per 1,000 live births.

“Expecting childbirth to go beautifully is kind of like asking a 3-year-old where do eggs come from and they say, ‘the store,'” she says.

Women think childbirth is safe because of the routine use of medical intervention by doctors. Often, women don’t even realize that their doctor actually has saved their lives during delivery. It’s that routine medical intervention that natural childbirth advocates are against, Tuteur says.

The problem with a home birth, she says, is that you’re trusting midwives who are trained for a normal birth, but not experts in complications. She cites a homebirth advocate Caroline Lovell from Australia, who bled to death because she had made the midwife promise before the birth not to take her to the hospital. When the unexpected happen, the midwife would not abandon the original plan despite Lovell’s pleas.

What Tuteur also noticed was it was women of a certain privilege, usually white women that are well off financially, that were wanting to have natural childbirth at home.

The recent immigrants Tuteur treated were happy to have births in a hospital with modern medication because their priorities were about the health of their babies and their own health, rather than earning a badge for a perfect, unmedicated birth, she says.

Tuteur would like women to stop making birthing plans because those plans just lead to disappointment. Instead, moms-to-be should take a class that shows a variety of births and educates about the mechanics of childbirth, but “you should be very suspicious of anyone telling you there’s a right way to give birth.”

And after the birth, it’s nobody’s business how you give birth, she says. “If they ask, ‘Did you have an epidural?’ that’s like asking, ‘Do you use pads or tampons?’ How is that your business?”

She also wants women to stop beating themselves up about not breast-feeding. In “Push Back,” she offers  chart after chart of research that shows little difference between breast-fed and formula-fed babies with access to clean water. “The benefits are a few less colds over the first year,” she says. “That’s it.” All the other stuff — obesity rates, diabetes, IQ — “That’s not true,” she says. “That’s been debunked.”

She worries about women feeling like bad mothers when their milk doesn’t come in or babies have trouble latching. She’d rather they switch to formula and feed their babies rather than stick to breast-feeding with a hungry baby as a result.

When it comes to co-sleeping and attachment parenting, Tuteur reminds that it’s almost impossible for mothers to do that without staying at home. And co-sleeping can be very dangerous. A 2014 study found that 73.8 percent of the infants younger than 4 months who died in their sleep were bed-sharing with an adult.

Tuteur sees hospitals promoting co-sleeping by insisting that babies room-in with their mothers. “If you had 40-hour labor, how can you take of the baby 24-7?” she asks. “That’s dangerous.” She points to babies who died in accidents in the hospital by either being dropped by their mother or suffocated when the mother fell asleep.

The advocates behind natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting, she says, have lost sight of the babies. “They are about mothers and their identity and building their identity around their mothering choices,” she says. “They make them out as superior mothers, but it’s not really true. It doesn’t work or it kills babies. They refuse to believe it.”

Tuteur is the mother of four children, two born with natural childbirth and two born with epidurals. She says she’s not going to stop anyone from having an unmedicated vaginal delivery in a hospital and breast-feeding afterward as long as it’s safe, but she’s not going to pressure any mom to do that.

“Children don’t need any of those,” she says. “What children need is love.”

“Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting”

By Dr. Amy Tuteur

$26.99, HarperCollins

CDC: No change in autism rates

Autism rates have fluctuated since 2000 from 1 in 150 kids to 1 in 88 and now 1 in 68 in school-age children, which was the same as the 2014 estimate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how it comes up with this rate:

The data come from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network – a tracking system that provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of ASD among 8-year-old children in 11 communities within Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin. The data in the latest report are for 2012 while the data in the previous 2014 report were from 2010.

Rates varied among the CDC’s study communities and especially varied by race and socioeconomic differences, pointing out the need for more awareness and faster diagnosis.

The CDC says:

The report also shows that, overall, less than half (43%) of children identified with ASD receive developmental evaluations by age 3. This suggests that many children may not be getting identified as early as they could be. Progress needs to be made to reach the Healthy People 2020 goal of increasing to 47% the proportion of children with ASD having a first evaluation by age 3.

Know the signs of autism. The CDC has an age-by-age checklist of what you as a parent should be looking for and discussing with your doctor if your child is missing the milestones.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Thursday the City of Austin made a proclamation declaring it so and recognized the city for providing Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy for city employees’ children who have autism.

autismsociety2Sunday, the Autism Society of Central Texas is having its eighth Autism Bike Ride and Fun Run/Walk. The bike ride begins at 7:30 a.m., the fun run at 9:30 a.m. There will be a resource fair from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. as well as lunch, awards, live music, a kids zone and more family activity. P. Terry’s, Schlotzsky’s and Chuy’s are providing the food. The event will also remember Hunter Hinze, a young man with Autism who died last spring after participating in the event last year. His family has established a scholarship fund to help people with autism transition into adulthood. Everything is happening at Georgetown High School, 2211 N. Austin Ave., Georgetown. Find out more at austinautismsociety.org.

Read other stories about autism we’ve covered in Raising Austin:

Sorting through implications of one label for all on the autism spectrum

Finding his voice: Teen with autism shares his journey

 

Does my child need early intervention?

Could folic acid be the missing link to autism?