1 in 68 children are now identified as being on the spectrum. The new estimate is 30% higher than the last estimate, released in 2008, of 1 in 88 children.
The study makes it clear that the reason for the increase is not understood. Part of the increase may be due to better and earlier diagnosis as awareness among parents and the medical community increases. But lacking a comprehensive understanding of what environmental, genetic, and biological factors increase the likelihood of ASD in children makes it difficult to determine how much is due to increased incidence as opposed to increased awareness.
What the CDC can confirm is that boys remain nearly five times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls, that white children are more likely than black or Hispanic children to be diagnosed, and that most children are not diagnosed until after they are four years old – even though diagnosis at the age of two is reliable and helps parents get the best help for their children as early as possible.
Another interesting piece of the study indicates that nearly half (46%) of the children in the study who have ASD also had average or above average intellectual ability – an IQ of more than 85.
Along with the CDC, The Autism Site looks upon this study as another example of why there is such need to learn more about autism. Research is a vital step to understanding all parts of the spectrum, and helping families find the information and resources they need.
Please don’t forget to visit our Autism site every day to fund research, and find other ways you can help – by sharing, donating to reputable organizations, and spreading the word.Whizzco