According to a new study released Wednesday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), autism is now estimated to affect 1 in 50 kids.
This new number is dramatically higher than the 1 in 88 children being affected four years ago.
Why is the diagnosis of autism in US school children on the rise at such an alarming rate?
This increase from 1.2% to a record 2% has been attributed to better detection rather than a growing environmental cause.
According to Stephen J. Blumberg, a senior scientist with the National Center for Health Statistics and the main author of the study, "the findings suggest that the increase in prevalence is due to improved recognition of autism spectrum disorders as opposed to children with newly developed risks for them."
This study, conducted every four years, indicates that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems, and that most of the increase is because of previously undiagnosed cases.
Dr. Sandra Kaler, a developmental and child clinical psychologist in Pacific Palisades, California has assessed and diagnosed many autistic children.
In an interview conducted by Susan Levy, Dr. Kaler gives a thorough overview of autism which gives hope to parents of children with this developmental disability.