Autism in children is on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today, with 1 in 68 children in the U.S. diagnosed.
The new statistic is based on the number of 8-year-olds diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This represents a 30 percent increase in the prior two years (in 2008 it was 1 in 88), according to the CDC. "The number of children identified with autism varied widely by community, from 1 in 175 children in areas of Alabama to 1 in 45 children in areas of New Jersey."
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates for early screening for autism spectrum disorders, early diagnosis and timely referral for effective intervention, according to an AAP news release.
"The AAP is working to help make pediatric practices more equipped to provide ongoing care to the many children with autism," said James Perrin, president of the AAP. "These rising rates certainly underscore the need to improve our understanding of the causes of autism and to work on prevention."
Susan Hyman, chair of the AAP autism subcommittee added, “It’s critical that we as a society do not become numb to these numbers,” she said. “They remind us of the work we need to do in educating clinicians and parents in effective interventions for all children, including those with developmental disabilities.”