On Feb. 14, President Donald Trump sat down for a parent-teacher conference alongside Betsy DeVos to talk about the future of our education system. While speaking with different educators, President Trump had some questions for one person in particular: Jane Quenneville, the principal of a special education center in Virginia for those with autism and "physical and medically fragile conditions." After asking Quenneville how it's going, he proceeded to ask her if she's "seen the increase in the autism with the children" around the 5:35 mark.
But the conversation did not stop there. Trump asked her, "So what's going on with autism? When you look at the tremendous increase, it's such an incredible, it's really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase. You have any idea?"
In the video, which was also published by the White House, we then hear Quenneville state that one in 68 children is diagnosed with autism, as reported by the CDC in March of last year. The CDC also stated in that report that there was "essentially no change in ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] prevalence from the previous report released in 2014."
This "tremendous amount of increase" that Trump referred to during the round-table meeting is completely inaccurate, according to the CDC facts. While there may be a gradual increase in rates over the last two decades, many have pointed out that this is not necessarily because more people are diagnosed with autism, it's because of more awareness of what autism actually is.