The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported in March 2013 that the new estimate of autism prevalence has risen from 1 in 110 in 2009 to 1 in 88 today. A 23% increase from the previous estimate. As expected, the numbers were heavily askew towards boys affecting 1 out of 54 as compared to that of girls which is 1 in 252. CDC is able to gather this data with the help of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM). ADDM is studying 8 year olds in 14 diverse communities in the United States.
CDC recognizes that people, parents and educators in particular, are concerned of the increasing number so they aim to understand the reason why. One theory is that children may be attended to differently in local communities though the relevance of this factor is still unknown. As the research accelerates, CDC continues to publish their findings to help communities better understand and provide working solutions to the issue at hand.
Recent findings include the fact that a lot more children were diagnosed at early ages. Those with Autistic Disorder were diagnosed as early as 3 or 4 years old. Those with a more broadly defined spectrum diagnoses were diagnosed after 4 years of age. Asperger’s disorder was diagnosed much later at around 6 years of age.
As mentioned above, the prevalence in boys are much higher as compared to girls. The CDC and ADDM has not been able to conclude why but believe that once the reason behind this gender preference is revealed, they will be able to direct their research towards an easier search for a cause.
When it comes to race, it has been found that a big part of the increase is found among Black and Hispanic children. However, this does not mean that Autism rarely occurs in other ethnic groups. CDC believes that this is due to cases being undiagnosed in many areas of the world.
One thing that concerns a lot of people is that autism impeded intellectual abilities. 62% of the subjects of ADDM with autism did not have any intellectual disability. In fact, they had IQ’s higher than 70. Although there were still a number of 8 years old with Autism that are of different IQ’s.
At present, the CDC aims to inform communities that the concerning increase in prevalence maybe attributed to the fact that not all children are diagnosed as early as possible. Families all over the world that house an autism child are emotionally and financially battered because of the expenses that come along with therapies. CDC hopes that by the end of this research, autism may be identified earlier and children will be given the same opportunities as others at learning and living a better quality of life.