Uptick of Autism Spectrum Disorder Seen in CDC Network

ASD is a serious neuro-developmental disorder which affects a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others

The percentages of autism prevalence among 8-year-olds in each state ranged from 1.3 percent of children in Arkansas to as much as 2.9 percent in New Jersey, NBC News reports.

A full copy of the report, "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years - Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014" is available on the CDC website here.

Nationwide, the CDC reported the rate increased to one in 59 children from one in 68 two years ago.

"The higher number of black and Hispanic children now being identified with autism could be due to more effective outreach in minority communities, and increased efforts to have all children screened for autism so they can get the services they need", he added in an agency news release. This is why Shapira encourages parents to track their child's development and act as early as possible.Some common symptoms of autism are obsessive interests, repetitive behaviors, and difficulty with communication. "For example, people who used to be only diagnosed with mental retardation or an intellectual disability are now also getting an autism diagnosis", he said.

"Autism prevalence among black and Hispanic children is approaching that of white children", Stuart Shapira, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for science at CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in a statement.

Among the 11 communities, fewer than half received their first autism diagnosis by 4 years old.

More than 85 percent of children with autism had exhibited developmental problems by the time they were three years old, only 42 percent received an expert evaluation by that age.

This latest survey is based on data collected in 2014 that estimated the number of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cases among more than 300,000 children from 11 states across the nation, states CNN.

A new report has revealed one in 59 children in the U.S. have autism spectrum disorders, up from one in 68 reported past year.

Autism in New Jersey has climbed roughly 200 percent since 2000, Zahorodny noted, adding that he believes that increase is far too dramatic to attribute exclusively to better diagnostic techniques, especially since rates are going up across the country.

Autism rates varied widely across the communities that are part of the prevalence monitoring network with a high of 1 in 34 in New Jersey compared to a low of 1 in 77 in Arkansas, but experts said this is likely due at least in part to record keeping differences.

Although it's heartening to see that autism is seemingly being identified more frequently in various communities, the findings only serve to reiterate the importance of identifying children with autism at a young age and referring them to early intervention. "All the data that we have suggest so far that right now, primarily what we're doing is picking up more subtle diagnoses, not that the actual incidence of autism is increasing".

This lag is a serious concern because it can delay the beginning of services these children need. Autism can be diagnosed as early as age two.

But, there are also new medications working their way through the testing phases. Brace says that early intervention helps the family focus on what their child can do rather than what they cannot do. "We want to encourage parents to be aware of their child's development, to be aware of the milestones that children achieve".

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