April is Autism Awareness month and a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the prevalence of the disorder has increased dramatically. Now, 1 in 88 children are being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Over the past 10 years, the number of children diagnosed has dramatically increased. Is there an explanation for the jump? And why are boys more susceptible to autism? We discuss the issue on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.
Key Findings from Report:
- More children were diagnosed at earlier ages—a growing number of them by 3 years of age. Still, most children were not diagnosed until after they were 4 years of age. On average, diagnosis was a bit earlier for children with autistic disorder (4 years) than for children with the more broadly defined autism spectrum diagnoses or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (4 years, 5 months), and diagnosis was much later for children with Asperger disorder (6 years, 3 months).
- As has been detailed in previous reports, we also found that almost five times as many boys were being identified with ASDs as girls (1 in 54 compared to 1 in 252). Research exploring why there are differences in the identified prevalence among males and females is ongoing and knowing that the conditions are more common among boys can help direct our search for causes.
- The largest increases over time were among Hispanic and Black children. We suspect that some of this was due to better screening and diagnosis. However, this finding explains only part of the increase over time, as more children were identified in all racial and ethnic groups.
- The majority (62%) of children the ADDM Network identified as having ASDs did not have intellectual disability. The largest increases during 2002 to 2008 were among children without intellectual disability (those having IQ scores higher than 70), although there were increases in the identified prevalence of ASDs at all levels of intellectual ability.
Visit the PDF below to view the full report.