Just because we cannot count adults with autism does not mean that they do not exist; nor does it mean that the prevalence rate for autism in adults must be lower than it is in children. Adults with autism are, in fact, becoming increasingly visible as autism awareness continues to rise and as more and more adults begin to identify themselves as autistic, and speak and write about their experiences of growing up and living with autism. Their invisibility is not a sign that autism is a childhood epidemic, but rather of how different our knowledge of autism is today.
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Each of the writers is an academic, each is the parent of an autistic child, and each has been writing about this experience. Grinker, an anthropologist at George Washington University, this year published Unstrange Minds, about his research into the history of autism and the efforts by parents and doctors in different cultures to help children get treatment. Chew is an assistant professor of classics at St. Peters College in Jersey City, N.J., who writes the Autism Vox blog.