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HEALTH: Autism studies

Updated: Tuesday, April 8 2014, 11:14 PM CDT
A new report from CDC indicates that one in 68 American children overall has  Autism, a significant increase in the prevalence of the disorder since

The last major study in 2008.
   
Despite greater awareness and attention, there are  still no answers to what's behind these numbers and whether Autism is on the rise.
   
According to data released today by the Centers for Disease Control one in 68 American kids has Autism.

Liz Feld - Autism Speaks President:  Sadly we're not surprised. This doesn't shock me at all

Among boys - it's 1 in 42. Girls 1 in 189.
Over the years, the definition of Autism has expanded and this new study suggests the developmental disorder is on the rise.

A 29 % increase in prevalence  since the last study in 2008 and a 62 % increase since 2006.

Some advocacy groups say these figures may be underestimated.
There are no blood or medical tests for Autism, doctors provide an Assessment based on a child's behavior, communication and social interactions. symptoms usually appear by age 2.

But there are so many unanswered questions. At the top of the list is Autism becoming common or more recognized and diagnosed?

Rob Ring - Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer:
I'm afraid there's not going to be a simple answer - there's not a single explanation. It's likely to be many different things.

Experts point to an increase in awareness driving more families to act on concerns and ask questions.

There's also been an improvement in identifying warning signs. Better guidance for developmental screenings means kids are being diagnosed at younger ages.

And doctors say early intervention is critical.
Liz Feld - Autism Speaks President:
Diagnosis might happen at 2 - 9 - but people live their entire lives.

Autism advocates were on Capitol Hill today pushing lawmakers to develop a national strategy.  So families can get the support they need.
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HEALTH: Autism studies


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