Autism Spectrum Disorder, a developmental disorder, is characterized by problems with communication and social interaction with accompanying repetitive patterns of behavior.
"Parents know their child best," said Daisy Christensen, co-author of the new report and Monitoring Team Leader in the Department of Developmental Disorders at the CDC Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. "We want to encourage parents to be aware of their child's development and to be aware of the milestones children are achieving."
By following milestones, parents can report concerns to a health care provider that encourages the child to conduct a comprehensive development assessment "so that delays or impairments can be identified and the child can be associated with services," said Christensen
& # 39; Miscellaneous communities & # 39;
The CDC launched the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network in 2000 to collect data that provide estimates of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders. The agency laid the foundation for the network in 1
"So, since 2000, we have funded between six and 14 pages The CDC established methodology to estimate the prevalence and characteristics of autism spectrum disorder in different US communities, "she said.
The new estimated rate of autism in the United States is based on data from 11 communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. It is not representative nationwide, according to Christensen.
"More than 300,000 children lived in these communities – about 8% of all 8-year-old children living in the US," she said. "And these are different communities so we can look at autism prevalence and traits in a number of different groups by race / ethnicity or socioeconomic status."
Although estimates of autism in the 11 communities varied widely, five similarly reported estimates of up to 1.4%. The New Jersey community estimated the highest prevalence of autism at 2.9%.
Overall, less than half of children with autism had their first diagnosis when they were 4 years old, the new CDC report finds. Development concerns were noted in the health records of 85% of children with autism up to 3 years of age, but only 42% received developmental evaluation by that age.
Among the factors that explain network differences include "differences in policies that affect access to services." the way children are screened, evaluated and diagnosed in these communities, some sites are located almost exclusively in urban areas where you could expect more focused and specialized services for the evaluation and care of children with developmental disabilities, "said Christensen. 19659002]
A Broader Definition of Autism
The definition of autism has also changed over the decades. "In the '80s and' 90s, more children were added to the diagnostic criteria," Christensen said. "I think that's definitely an opportunity for the rise we've seen."
In the past, more than half of the children identified with autism also had mental retardation, and now it's about a third, she said. "And that really agrees with the identification of children who may be at the milder end of the spectrum."
The new government data can not tell us exactly why the increase took place, Christensen said. "One of the most important things we are seeing this year is that the difference in prevalence between white and black children and between white and Hispanic children has decreased."
For example, in 2012, the prevalence of white children was about 20% higher than that of black children, and now it is about 10% higher; It was 50% higher in white children compared to Hispanic children, and now it is 20% higher.
"We have no biological reason to believe that the prevalence of autism would vary by race / ethnicity," Christensen said, so that the large gaps in the past suggest that black and Hispanic children are less frequently identified than white Children. Nor did they receive the necessary services to develop their full potential.
In New Jersey, Minnesota and Maryland, there was no difference between black and white children.
Thomas Frazier, senior research associate at the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, said the new government report was "really important because it's a significant increase, it's a significant increase."
The sooner the better
Frazier agreed that diagnostic changes and increasing awareness have contributed to the increase in autism diagnoses. "For example, people who used to be diagnosed with mental retardation or mental retardation now also have an autism diagnosis," he said.
"We are waiting more for children, and older parents are more willing to do it. I have a child with autism, and premature babies live at rates they were unused to, so these babies are at risk for autism," he said added that there are likely to be other unknown risk factors.
He noted that the ratio of men to women had decreased in the new report. "There were 4.5 boys for each girl, and now there are 4 boys for each girl, and the drop in these inequality gaps is a good thing," said Frazier. "We have data that suggests that the ratio is likely to be closer to 2 or 3 to 1 than to 4 to 1."
Ultimately, Frazier believes more research is needed, "because without it we can not understand why autism has increased so dramatically over the decades, we also need to push the services because we look at the numbers."  Study casts doubt on music therapy for children with autism ” data-src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170711064538-inside-the-middle-east-islamic-spain-flamenco-guitar-oud-00025820-small-169.jpg” data-src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170711064538-inside-the-middle-east-islamic-spain-flamenco-guitar-oud-00025820-medium-plus-169.jpg” data-src-small=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170711064538-inside-the-middle-east-islamic-spain-flamenco-guitar-oud-00025820-large-169.jpg” data-src-medium=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170711064538-inside-the-middle-east-islamic-spain-flamenco-guitar-oud-00025820-exlarge-169.jpg” data-src-large=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170711064538-inside-the-middle-east-islamic-spain-flamenco-guitar-oud-00025820-super-169.jpg” data-src-full16x9=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170711064538-inside-the-middle-east-islamic-spain-flamenco-guitar-oud-00025820-full-169.jpg” data-src-mini1x1=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170711064538-inside-the-middle-east-islamic-spain-flamenco-guitar-oud-00025820-small-11.jpg” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP///////wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI+py+0Po5yUFQA7″/>