Lifestyle & Belief

CDC: US autism rates jump 78 percent in past decade


Suxie, 6, who suffers from autism hits himself immediately after being untied to a chair as John Davies (L) looks on at the Bright Connection centre in Sanya, on October 26, 2009 in China's southernmost island province of Hainan. The centre was set up in 2004 by US couple John and Maggie Davies from Colorado who moved to the sub-tropical island in the mid-1990's as consultants for its booming hotel industry but were moved by what they saw as the huge needs of local disabled children, eventually adopting in 1997 an abandoned local baby girl, severely disabled by cerebral palsy and autism, and now care for and provide therapy for up to 25 children with cerebral palsy, autism, or both.



The number of children with autism in the United States has jumped 78 percent in the past decade, according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The latest data estimate that 1 in 88 American children has some form of autism spectrum disorder, CNN reported

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Among boys, the rate of autism spectrum disorders is one in 54, almost five times that of girls, in whom the rate is one in 252, according to Reuters.

The new estimate means autism is nearly twice as common as officials said it was only five years ago, and likely affects roughly 1 million US children and teens, The Associated Press reported.

"One thing the data tells us with certainty — there are many children and families who need help," CDC Director Thomas Frieden told Reuters. "We must continue to track autism spectrum disorders because this is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children."

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Mark Roithmayr, president of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, told CNN more children are being diagnosed with autism because of "better diagnosis, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and roughly 50 percent of 'We don't know.'"

He told CNN the numbers show there is an epidemic of autism in the United States.

The data was collected by The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring network, an organization funded by the CDC to track autism rates. For this report, the ADDM reviewed medical records of 8-year-old children from 14 different areas across the country, ABC News reported.

The study focused on 8-year-olds because most autism spectrum diagnoses are made by that time, although the signs of autism are often seen much earlier, according to ABC News.