The CDC announced March 29, 2012 that an estimated 1 in 88 children have an autism spectrum disorder.
For over a decade, the CDC and the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network have been tracking cases of autism spectrum disorders. The 1 in 88 statistic is an increase of 23% from the CDC’s last report in 2009. Many researchers suggest this increase is due to the way autism is identified, diagnosed, and treated, although there is no significant research to suggest how much of the rise in cases of autism is due to these factors.
In the CDC study, data was collected from 14 areas in the United States — since these areas contain about 8 percent of the U.S. population, it is difficult to generalize this data to the whole of the country. However, most data collected across the country does recognize the trend that cases of autism are on the rise.
The CDC also estimates 1 in every 54 boys is diagnosed with autism, while only 1 in 252 girls have autism — boys are five times more likely to have autism than girls.
Cases of autism are also being diagnosed earlier — many children by age 3 receive the diagnosis of autism, whereas in earlier years, children were not diagnosed until after age 4. Through the CDC’s Learn the Signs Act Early program, early diagnosis and intervention helps parents and children access the necessary treatment and services.
For more information and helpful resources about autism, visit the CDC online.
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