Published: Fri, April 27, 2018
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Autism Disorder Increases Among US Children, CDC Study Finds

Autism Disorder Increases Among US Children, CDC Study Finds

Now, one in 59 children have been diagnosed.

On Thursday, April 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a new report that supported the increase of those with autism as the organization tracks autism spectrum disorder in eleven communities in the United States.

The prevalence of autism varied widely among the 11 communities in the report, although five reported similar estimates of 1.3 percent to 1.4 percent. A report released in 2007 put the estimate at 1 in 150, or the equivalent of about 1 child in every 5 or 6 classrooms.

The latest data from the CDC showed an uptick in the number of 8-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder across their Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

A new study has found that the number of children diagnosed with autism in New Jersey is rapidly climbing.

"It's really kind of unacceptable that you have parents telling their doctors that they have concerns and they're not getting a diagnosis until over a year later", said Alycia Halladay, chief science officer at the Autism Science Foundation.

In 2012, for example, the prevalence was about 20% higher in white children than in black children, and now it's about 10% higher; it was 50% higher in white children compared with Hispanic children, and now it is 20% higher.

The CDC points out that these numbers are not nationally representative, but simply reflect a detailed look at autism in these specific communities.

"It remains a priority to diagnose autism earlier and begin intervention sooner, especially given recent research suggesting that higher intensity and duration of early developmental therapy for children with autism is associated with significant improvements in outcomes", he said. Instead, according to the CDC, the uptick likely has to do with better identification and reporting of autism, particularly among black and Hispanic communities, which have had historically lower rates of autism detection. The prevalence of what we recognize as autism is going up-not the likelihood of a child being susceptible to autism.

That way, kids can get the help they need to reach their full potential. That's up from one in 68 children identified with autism in 2016.

The CDC survey has roots in New Jersey, thanks to a 1998 study the federal agency did to assess suspected high rates of autism in Brick Township.

The data, from the CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, were culled from tracking 8-year-olds in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Boys are nearly 4 times as likely as girls to have a condition on the autistic spectrum. New Jersey's prevalence rate is 29.4 cases per 1,000 children, based on the 2014 data.

Arkansas was the only state that collected data from the entire state, including rural areas, as opposed to specific sites.

Experts say diagnosing autism early is important.

New Jersey has significantly more children diagnosed with autism than other states - and rates are still on the rise.

But Garden State rates may grow even more after the state launches a new program to aggressively screen kids under age three, and also monitor those who are between and 16, in an effort to better understand patterns of diagnoses and care, which Zahorodny described during a conference call with the New Jersey senator.

Shapira cited the CDC's Learn the Signs. Houston-Hurst pushed to get her son those services.

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