Autism Cases Are Up 78% since 2007
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimates 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000) has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
This marks a 23% increase since the CDC's last report tallying ASDs, issued in 2009. It represents a 78% increase since the CDC's report in 2007.
"Some of the increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their local communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors in unknown," the CDC says in its announcement of the report, issued by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.
ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).
The largest increases have been among Hispanic children (110%) and black children (91%). "We suspect that some of this increase is due to greater awareness and better identification among these groups," says the CDC. "However, this finding explains only part of the increase."
More children are being diagnosed at earlier ages, though most children are not diagnosed until after they reach age 4, even though early identification and intervention can help a child access services and learn new skills.
Through its Learn the Signs. Act Early program, the CDC provides free tools to help parents track their child's development and free resources for doctors and educators.