This article from The Guardian is about the UK but I'm sure this happens in Canada as well, maybe not as much because I think its more difficult to get diagnosed as an adult in Canada.
"In recent years, the number of people diagnosed with autism has rocketed; a study of diagnosis trends, published in August, found the median age for diagnosis is 10 for males and 13 for females, and there was a 787% exponential increase in its recorded incidence, in the 20 years to 2018. "
At least they're talking about diagnosis here and not autism itself. In the recent CAHS assessment prepared for the Federal Gov't they talk about the rate of autism increasing rapidly. They mention the rate of autism in children and young people and then say that they have no idea what the rate is for adults implying without evidence or proof that its much lower. I think there are just as many autistic adults per 100 adults as there are autistic children per 100 children, mainly because I've seen no evidence to suggest otherwise. (Additionally I don't think the rates of autism are affected by gender but that's a separate topic. )
And in fact this article goes on to say "And it’s not that there are suddenly more autistic people, but that diagnosis in the past was inadequate and medicine is catching up." It seems in Canada and specifically PEI we're still at the inadequate stage.
When talking about being labeled 'difficult': "The important takeaway for society as a whole, Baron-Cohen believes, is that it’s the world that needs to get used to autism – not autistic people who need to get used to the world." To me the biggest problem with being labeled 'difficult' is that's the opposite intention of the autistic person. Autistic people try so hard to get along with non autistic people, try so hard to do their jobs correctly, try so hard not to be a burden, etc., that to label them 'difficult' over some misunderstanding seems doubly unfair.
"“Having to navigate a much bigger and more complicated social scene often makes autism more apparent,” says Baron-Cohen." Personally I think this has much to do with the increase in diagnosis. Nowadays even toddlers are involved in a "more complicated social scene" then in the past. We moved to rural PEI when I was 4 and besides playing with a little girl who lived up the road, I don't recall having any other social interactions until I started school at age 6.
This is great for adults in the UK and very different from Canada: "A game-changer for adults with autism is the Autism Act 2009 (this is the only condition with its own act of parliament) which gives people the right to a diagnosis, regardless of age." "That is important for many reasons, not least that while autism is not a mental health disorder, people who have it may be more prone to anxiety and depression." I'm not sure if we're more prone to anxiety and depression or if we tend to develop anxiety and/or depression as a result of being autistic and trying to function in the non autistic society. But either way the percentage of autistic people with anxiety and/or depression is quite high, well over 50 percent.
"In fact, as he points out, making life easier for people with autism is all about acknowledging that they are different in the same way that people are different in terms of gender and ethnicity. “What’s really good is that people are realising that neurodiversity is part of a person’s identity in exactly the same way these things are,” he says. " Personally I think we're a long way from that but it does seem like society is opening up to other differences such as those he mentions and maybe neurodiversity will be accepted as well.
I recommend reading the entire article linked here and not just the excerpts I've copied. Also I hope people can tell the quoted paragraphs come from the article and the rest comes from me and is just my opinion. Please add your comments below if you're comfortable doing so. You don't have to agree with me, I'm interested in your comments either way.