The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that the percentage of American children with autism has risen 30 percent
over only two years: In 2010, one in 68 children were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, as opposed to one in 88 in 2008.
As yet, there are no particular reasons for this rise. One possibility includes paying closer attention to identifying and diagnosing autism, especially in communities with an already high amount of children with autism. Minorities may also face disparities in health care.
“’We now recognize that autism is a spectrum,’” said Dr. Marshalyn Yergin-Allsopp, chief of CDC’s developmental disabilities branch. “’Our understanding has evolved to the point that we understand that there are children with higher IQ’s who may not have been receiving services in the past.’”
The CDC urges professionals to use the new data to ensure proper care and intervention, and advises parents to act early if they have concerns about their children’s development. While the causes of autism are as yet unsubstantiated
beyond identifying risk factors such as environmental exposure and genetic mutations, increased awareness and better diagnosis are essential.
At the same time, it’s important that we remember the children behind the diagnosis. The CDC provides a checklist
for parents to understand developmental milestones between ages of two months to five years.
Read more in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
, and take a moment to download
the Autism Spectrum Disorders Supportive Strategies eBook [PDF] for yourself or someone who works with children.