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Occurrence of autism

The occurrence of autism makes the headlines and they report that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1 child in 68 children but they usually don't offer much in the way of understanding the statistics. The latest statistics are based on 2010 records of eight-year-old children who lived in eleven different states in the United States. The increase is about 30% higher than in 2008, 60% higher than in 2006 and 120% than estimates in 2000 and 2002.

Early intervention makes a difference.
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Researchers question whether the increases are real or not. The guidelines have changed for detecting autism, so perhaps the methods count more children as having ASD than under the old guidelines.

Some advocates believe that special needs kids are getting diagnosed with ASD, sometimes as an additional diagnosis, to have access to better services. Advocates for autistic children have been effective in getting funding for services to benefit their affected children and some governmental funding is earmarked for those within the autism spectrum.

Even if ASD is over diagnosed, the effects of early intervention are astounding as it improves language and everyday skills as well as improvements in the child's IQ. The level of need should determine the services the child receives, and as long as the services meets the needs of the child, the statistics are just numbers.

Questions? Comments? Contact Pat Wright.