New statistics issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention displays that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders found in a sample of 337,000 8-year-olds (over 8% of the nations 8-year-olds) in 14 states is significantly higher than it has been in the past.
It is estimated now that one out of 88 children in the United States has autism or a related disorder. Among boys, the rate is one in 54. That is almost five times higher than girls who are at one 252.
"One thing the data tells us with certainty - there are many children and families who need help," said the CDC Director Thomas Frieden. "We must continue to track autism spectrum disorders because this is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children."
The latest study compiled since 2008, shows that autism is up by 235 since 2006. Speculation has arisen as to why this might be.
"We know that some of it is due to how children with autism are identified and served in their local communities," Coleen A. Boyle, director of CDC National Cneter on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities told WebMD. "We do feel doctors are getting better at diagnosing autism. ... But we don't know how much is due to better identification and diagnosis, how much is due to availability of services, and how much is a true rise in prevalence."
An interesting clue from the data shows that autism prevalence is higher in areas that are considered better at diagnosing autism in children. The CDC study coincides with a national health survey, Boy adds, "This method is really the gold standard for tracking autism. One thing we do know is we don't overestimate autism prevalence."