CDC Estimates 1 in 68 Children Has Autism

New information reported by Centers for Disease Control & Prevention shows a sharp rise in the U.S. autism rate, highlighting the continued need for research on the disorder. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder of neural development characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

It should be noted that the information was based off of health records of 8-year-olds in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin in 2010, therefore the rate does not represent the entire population of kids in the U.S.

In 2000, it was estimated 1 in 150 children had been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Today’s rate is 30 percent higher than the estimate for 2008, which was 1 in 88. There is still a lot of unknowns surrounding the disorder, including what has caused the increase. One possible factor is because of increased awareness, more children are being identified and diagnosed.

Other findings include:

  • 46 percent of children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability.
  • Boys were almost 5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls).
  • White children were more likely to be identified with ASD than black or Hispanic children.
  • 44 percent of children identified with ASD were evaluated for developmental concerns by age 3.
  • Most were not diagnosed until after age 4, though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.
  • Black and Hispanic children identified with ASD were more likely than white children to have intellectual disability.

Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism, is calling for a national plan of action that would have a direct impact on the autism community.

“Behind each of these numbers is a person living with autism,” said Autism Speaks President Liz Feld in a statement. “Autism is a pressing public health crisis that must be prioritized at the national level. We need a comprehensive strategy that includes the research community, policymakers, educators, and caregivers coming together to address our community’s needs across the lifespan.”



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Liz Hayes
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