The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in a press release on March 27th, that the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder is now estimated to be at one in 68 children. This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than the previous one in 2012, which was one in 88 children.
The report showed the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among groups of eight year old children in 11 states. Researchers reviewed records from community sources that educate, diagnose, treat and/or provide services to children with developmental disabilities.
The data that the CDC compiled continues to show that Autism is almost five times more common among boys than girls; one in 42 boys versus one in 189 girls. White children are more likely to be identified as having ASD than are black or Hispanic children, likely because their families are more likely to reach out for services.
The report shows that most children with ASD are diagnosed after age four, even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age two. It is strongly recommended by the CDC, and mental health professionals, that families seek help as soon as possible. If there is "a concern about how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, take action. Don’t wait.” says Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D., chief of CDC’s Developmental Disabilities Branch. Early identification and intervention is key.
Autism Spectrum Disorder has been a hot topic in the past few years. Although the numbers show that the amount of children affected has increased, it is likely that it is being identified and diagnosed more often than ever. Either way, as mental health practitioners learn more and more about Autism, it is becoming easier to help kids through therapies like ABA and Floortime.