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Home / Health / Autism is more common than previously thought; CDC says 1 in 59 US children has Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism is more common than previously thought; CDC says 1 in 59 US children has Autism Spectrum Disorder



About 1 in 59 children in the United States live with Autism Spectrum Disorder according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking autism in 11 communities across the country. This is a higher number than the previous estimate from 2016, in which 1 out of every 68 children in the US has autism.

Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, as well as speech and nonverbal communication. It occurs in early childhood and lasts throughout the lifetime of a human being.

The data comes from CDC Autism and Developmental Disease Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a tracking system that provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of autism spectrum disorder among more than 300,000 year-old children from 1

1 communities in the US It is not a representative sample of the United States, but a detailed look at autism in those specific communities. The CDC says it is the largest population-based program for monitoring autism and the only autism tracking system that examines health and education records.

Researchers may not yet be guided by the report of whether autism is actually on the rise or whether the new numbers are due to improvements in the detection and diagnosis of the condition.

But they say that part of the increase could be due to improved identification of autism cases in minority populations. While data show that autism is even more common in white children, the number of Hispanic and black children is growing. This is important, experts say, because the early diagnosis of autism means that interventions may begin at a younger age and children are more likely to reach their full potential.

"Autism prevalence among black and Hispanic children is approaching that of white children," said Stuart Shapira, MD, Ph.D., deputy director of science at the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disorders of the CDC, in a statement. "The higher number of black and Hispanic children now associated with autism may be due to more effective use of minority communities and increased efforts to have all children screen for autism to provide the services they need can receive. "

The report also highlighted the need to identify more children with autism at a younger age and bring them into early intervention programs. The researchers found that less than half of the children in the report received their first autism diagnosis when they were 4 years old.

In addition, 85 percent of children with autism had concerns in their health records By the time of the development of 3 years, less than half received developmental evaluation up to that age.

This delay is a serious concern as it can delay the onset of these children's services.

"Parents can track their child's development and act early when there is a concern. Health care providers can recognize and help parents address these concerns. And those who work with or for children can use their powers To ensure that all children with autism are identified and connected with the services they need as early as possible, " Shapira. "Together we can improve the future of a child."

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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