I think we have all suspected this which is why some parents would get up at 2 am to stand in line to get there kid into the "right" preschool - I don't mean me, just some people I know. For reals. I am not crazy. Ok. I'm totally crazy, but also a little lazy so I would not do that. Anyway, over the last few years, as more research is coming out regarding autism and development in general, we have a new appreciation for just how critical this birth to three years time is. The childhood environment, including stimulation like reading, exploring, singing, talking, or neglect, abuse, exposure to violence, physical or verbal, against others, etc., etc. all have critically important and potentially irreversible effects on developing brains leading to major learning or mental health issues in adolescence and adulthood. The more I read, the more I am completely freaked out.
Not surprisingly, the children and families that are in most trouble are in the lower socioeconomic brackets, with limited education and limited resources for help. They may have limited access to medical care, and therefore developmental, or other, screening. A local Baltimore public health department, where an under-served community gets medical care and vaccines, has not a single patient with autism, for which the estimates in the general population are 1 in 68 (children on the autism spectrum). It is a place that is a geographical oddity - overcoming the odds! Ha!
Data show that Hispanic and African American populations tend to be in lower socioeconomic brackets then Caucasians. In 2011, the number of Hispanic and African American births outpaced Caucasian ones for the first time in the history of the United States. Can you see where this is going? We are going to outpace production of children who may be higher risk for lack of identification and treatment of developmental issues with production of services to help them. This is why I frequently feel like I am running in circles waving my arms in the air to alert everyone : we have a major public health problem! When you mix in emotional health, cognitive health, with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer all due to obesity and smoking, thirty years down the pipeline : crisis.
Someone fix this. I am not smart enough. Just overwhelmed. What are we doing? Our modern culture of convenience is going to makes us self-implode. Who is ready to move to Montana, Vermont, or whichever remote place, with me? Somewhere we can live in a cob house, with a garden, and no wi-fii. And birthday suits are completely optional. Cuts down on that damn laundry anyway.