Experts believe the spike may be the result of improvements in diagnostic methods, with more doctors testing for the condition, especially in black and Hispanic communities. The condition is also linked to children having older fathers and being born prematurely – both of which are increasingly common.
The rate of autism diagnoses has rocketed 15 percent in just one year, a new report reveals. One in 59 American children suffers from autism spectrum disorders, up from one in 68 reported last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released today.
It follows a steady increase: ASD prevalence has grown more than three-fold in the last two decades with the most drastic increases in black and Hispanic populations who were previously much less likely to be diagnosed than white children.
A new report has revealed one in 59 children in the US have autism spectrum disorders, up from one in 68 reported last year. In the last two decades diagnoses have more than tripled
The newly released data was collected by the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, a tracking system that provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of ASD among more than 300,000 eight-year-old children.
ASD refers to a range of similar developmental disorders characterized by difficulties with social interaction, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.
The prevalence was found to be 15 percent higher than what was reported last year, up from 1.5 percent in 2012 to 1.7 percent in 2014. Those with ASD may also experience cognitive, learning, emotional and behavioral problems and could have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety or depression.
Thirty percent of children with ASD have a non-verbal IQ below 70, and more 15 percent have below 50. While there is no cure for ASD, it can be managed with speech and language therapy and educational support, which is more effective the earlier it starts.
Autism signs and symptoms
According to the CDC, people with autism have trouble with social, emotional and communication skills that usually develop before the age of three and last throughout a person’s life.
Specific signs of autism include:
- Reactions to smell, taste, look, feel or sound are unusual
- Difficulty adapting to changes in routine
- Unable to repeat or echo what is said to them
- Difficulty expressing desires using words or motions
- Unable to discuss their own feelings or other people’s
- Difficulty with acts of affection like hugging
- Prefer to be alone and avoid eye contact
- Difficulty relating to other people
- Unable to point at objects or look at objects when others point to them