I have been reading a blog titled Rarer in Girls here which is about the difficulties and issues involved in raising a girl with a low functioning form of autism. It's a very moving bog, and I highly recommend it.
The latest post is especially interesting. Suzanne, the mother, talks about the new survey out that suggests one in fifty children are somewhere on the autistic spectrum. She notes that the majority of these children are almost certainly much higher functioning than her daughter. Many children on the spectrum can lead independent lives, even going on to college and having successful professional careers.
Her daughter will almost certainly never be able to lead an independent life. But because so many children on the spectrum will be able to, she worries that the public will not understand the level of services needed for her daughter and other children who are so much more disabled by autism. I think it's a very valid concern.
Anyway, check out her blog if you get a chance.