This number has gone up 30 percent from two years ago.
Gathering data from 11 states — Alabama, Wisconsin, Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, Arkansas, Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, Utah and New Jersey — the CDC also confirmed that autism continues to plague boys more than girls. Boys were 4.5 more likely to have autism compared to girls with 1 in 42 compared to 1 in 189.
The number of autism cases also differed among states. Researchers found that New Jersey had the highest numbers, with 1 in 45 children being diagnosed with autism, while Alabama had fewer diagnosed cases with 1 in 175.
So why do more kids have autism than before?
Coleen Boyle, the director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, told CNN.com that there isn’t an increase per se, just more and more children are being diagnosed due to increased awareness and better testing in schools.
But even with this uptick in autism awareness, children are sadly still being diagnosed late with the disease. On average, children are being diagnosed at the age of 4, despite the fact that autism can be diagnosed in kids as young as two.
Access to quality health care, income level, schools with quality special education programs and cultural stigma also play a role in these disparities. This rings especially true for Black children.
A 2011 study found that the average African-American child is diagnosed with autism at 8 years old, compared to 6 years old for white children. Not to mention, researchers also found that when Black parents do mention autism to their doctors, they are more likely to be ignored. By delaying diagnosis, Black children are more likely to need more extensive and longer treatment.
Autism spectrum disorder is a range of brain-related developmental disorders that impairs one’s ability to socialize with others and speak. It also can cause someone to engage in unusual and bizarre repetitive behavior. One can suffer from severe forms of autism that cause someone to be completely shut off from the world, while someone can suffer from a more mild form such as Asperger syndrome.
While we know now that vaccines do not cause autism in children, the medical community has theories from brain irregularities to inflammation in pregnant mothers, but nothing is concrete as to why this disorder exists.
Learn more about autism at AutismSpeaks.Org.
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