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CDC: 1 in 68 Children Has Autism

Date Published: 
March 27, 2014

The number of children diagnosed with autism has grown by almost 30 percent, from 1 in 88 children two years ago to 1 in 68 today, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC looked at the records of 8-year-olds at sites in 11 U.S. states in 2010 to estimate the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism rates have been rising for more than a decade. The new rate is about 60 percent higher than the estimate of 1 in 110 children for 2006, and about 120 percent higher than the estimate of 1 in 150 children for 2000.

As expected, autism is more common in boys than in girls. One in 42 boys has an ASD compared to one in 189 girls.

Autism diagnosis rates also varied by state and racial and ethnic group.

Based on data from seven of the states, almost half of the children with ASD have average or above average intelligence, 31% have intellectual disability, and 23% have IQs in the borderline range between intellectual disability and average intelligence. A decade ago, a greater percentage of the children with ASD had IQs in the intellectual disability and borderline range.

A CDC release said "most children with ASD are still not diagnosed until after age 4, even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2."1

Earlier diagnosis and early intervention therapies can improve a child's progess. "It's not a cure, but it changes the trajectory," Dr. Gary Goldstein, president and CEO of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, told CNN.2

Kennedy Krieger is home to the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), an online research platform and registry that connects individuals on the autism spectrum and their families with researchers nationwide. Visit IANresearch.org for information on how to participate in autism research at IAN.

The CDC's report, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years, of March 28, 2014, is available online.

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