This has also been associated with a series of erroneous explanations and improper correlations. Many explanations have been advanced for this rise in childhood anomalies including childhood inoculations, a widely accepted piece of nonsense. TV has been blamed as has obesity and corn syrup.
When a population anomaly of this sort begins to appear a logical mind is forced to examine something other than direct correlations.
The problem must be systemic. And because it is specifically a problem in America the systemic issues to be examined should be American and should be connected to practices in widespread use in America. They should be connected to childhood but not necessarily.
I can think of more than half a dozen changes in our society in the 1980s that could have a very strong impact on children in the 1990s and later.
Let us start with the five point infant harness that is required for all infants leaving hospitals after birth. The infants are actually kept in harnesses in vehicles and in the backseat until nearly 10 years old. (The fifth strap, in the crotch, is used by all small children I have observed, for masturbation.)
Then, more importantly, in the 1980s it became criminal to punish a child by spanking. That was a major change in child rearing.
Children were increasingly part of a female head of household family without a father present.
Pregnant mothers were heavily admonished against drinking alcohol of any sort during pregnancy.
The list goes on and on and it includes a wide range of new games, new technologies and new eating patterns for the 1980s and 1990s.
Any attempt to explain the rise of autism, ADD and ADHD without reference to these many changes and many more.......... is poor logic and foolish.