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Your Healthy Family: Rise in Autism diagnoses

Posted at 8:46 AM, Apr 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-07 08:46:14-04

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the rate of children being diagnosed with Autism in the U.S. has been steadily rising since the 2000.

In eleven communities across the country being monitored by the CDC, more kids are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

"2.8 percent Of children, or 1 in 36, were identified as having Autism," Matthew Maenner, the CDC's Chief of Child Development and Disability, said.

But Maenner said 5 years ago, in those same communities, 1 in 44 children were diagnosed with Autism by age 8. That was up from one in 150 children in 2000.

"This was the first year that we've reported overall differences in which Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander children had a higher prevalence of Autism compared to white children," he said.

The CDC said the rising numbers don't necessarily mean there are more kids with Autism, but that screening tools are catching more cases; Especially in minority populations.

"Children with Autism are a significantly underserved population in our country," Pediatric Psychologist Eric Butter said.

He said this data shows we're heading in the right direction when it comes to diagnosing Autism.

"The health equity and disparity issues are beginning to show some promise," Butter said.

Early detection is key. The Autism Speaks organization said treatment has a greater impact when children are young.

"This report also is a call to action for us to develop more culturally-informed intervention services that are able to meet these families where they are at," Andy Shih, the Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, said.