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The number of children in the country who have autism is becoming more prevalent, and a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers detailed insight into some recent statistics surrounding this nationwide health concern.
The report, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders,” contains data gleaned from 14 sites in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network in 2008. The CDC established the ADDM Network in 2000 to track the prevalence of autism over time. The report focuses on children who are eight years old, as this is determined to be the age of “peak prevalence.”
The data revealed that 11.3 per 1,000 children, or about 1 in 88 living in the areas surveyed, have autism. This number is a 23 percent increase over 2006 data, when nine in 1,000 children had autism, and a 78 percent increase from 2002, when 6.4 children per 1,000 had autism.
Though the report points out that this increase could be due to an overall better understanding and increased recognition of autism characteristics, the extent to which this affects the data isn’t really known. In either case, it’s clear that more research and support is needed to help the families with children who are on the autism spectrum.
This data was released just as other autism research findings are making headlines. A recent article in Pediatrics revealed that there could be a link between maternal obesity and autism in children. Though gestational diabetes is linked to developmental disorders, data in the Pediatrics article suggests a clear link between diabetes during pregnancy and autism in particular.
Another recent study examines the links between gene mutations and the likelihood of autism. As explained in this Huffington Post article, mutations that take place in the area of genes related to brain development are directly related to autism. Most cases of autism are believed to be genetic, though they cannot always be traced back this way.
While all of these conclusions are promising and suggest new avenues for autism research, there's more work that needs to be done and so much yet to be discovered. Each new finding represents a small piece of the autism puzzle that we’ll soon be able to put together for a solution and a cure.
If you don’t already know, CPI is a resource for a wealth of information related to autism. In addition to our Autism Spectrum Disorders: Applications of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Training program designed especially for our Certified Instructors, we also offer an Autism Awareness Seminar as an on-site training option. Our website contains free resources accessible to anyone who wants to learn more, including a free Info Capsule, “Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): Supportive Strategies for Crisis Prevention” [PDF]. Also, be sure to check out our newest blog written by CPI Global Professional Instructor Jeff Schill, ASD Today: Advancing Autism Awareness.
For more autism statistics, visit the CDC’s page on autism.