The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 88 children in the United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study released today that looked at data from 14 communities.  Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls – with 1 in 54 boys identified.

The number of children identified with ASDs ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah.  The largest increases were among Hispanic and black children.  The report, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008, provides autism prevalence estimates from 14 areas.

“This information paints a picture of the magnitude of the condition across our country and helps us understand how communities identify children with autism,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  To address this, the National Institutes of Health has invested in research to identify possible risk factors and effective therapies for people with ASDs.

Study results from the 2008 surveillance year show 11.3 per 1,000 8-year-old children have been identified as having an ASD.  This marks a 23 percent increase since the last report in 2009.  Some of this increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors is unknown.  “To understand more, we need to keep accelerating our research into risk factors and causes of autism spectrum disorders,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., M.S.Hyg., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.  The study also shows more children are being diagnosed by age 3, an increase from 12 percent for children born in 1994 to 18 percent for children born in 2000. “Unfortunately, 40 percent of the children in this study aren’t getting a diagnosis until after age 4. We are working hard to change that,” said Boyle.

The most important thing for parents to do is to act quickly whenever there is a concern about a child’s development and to talk you your doctor if there is a concern.

For information on CDC’s tools to help families track their child’s development, visit HERE.

To learn more about the research CDC is doing on autism, visit www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/research.html.

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Comments

Yesterday my kids and I went to wish my ex-mother-in-law a happy birthday and bring her some gifts. My 10 year old son with Aspergers was completely indifferent to her while we were there. I think he may have said one word, Porygon 2, when I asked him to tell what he bought with his allowance. We visited for a while as we stood by my van parked on the street in front of her house. She had returned home just as we had pulled up to her house. My daughter and I had a pleasant visit with her grandma and one of the cousins that lives with them who is entering high school. About half way through the visit, I guess my son got bored and simply got in the van and shut the door. No good bye, no hug, no well nice seeing you happy birthday. It made me feel as though I needed to apologize for his lack of social graces but his grandma understood. I’m sure those of you who have children with Aspergers find this a familiar story. My son is pretty good with people he knows well such as his one good friend from school or some kids at church. Unfortunately when he is around people he does not know very well (he doesn’t see his grandparents very often even though they live close by), he isn’t very verbal. This is not a trait he displays at home though, he will ramble on and on about his favorite things. I am learning a lot about Club penguin this summer. In fact he is very interactive with the online friend group he has made there. So my point to all of this is to really make people aware that Aspie’s don’t mean to be rude or indifferent, they just have a lack of social skills. In some cases, they can seem to be as normal as the next kid (ah what is normal) but in other instances they may seem odd. Please don’t judge them or think them odd. It’s just they have their own way of thinking and doing. They can be just as amazing as any other child on the planet and if you invest the time to get to know them you will be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer.

It is hard to have a child with autistic problem because of how your surroundings and the people treats you and your autistic child. But they are also human and should be treated equally.

I've worked with many kids on the spectrum and I agree with Kristine; these children are so misunderstood and because they appear "normal" people are quick to judge them. Children with autism amaze me. They have special gifts and see the world through a different len. I think we need to focus more on understanding and seeing the world through their eyes so we can be effective and compassionate supporters of these children.

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