Autism: More prevalent than you think?
According to a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, one in 40 children has autism. This figure is a significant increase from a previously reported figure by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that one in every 59 children has autism.
Leading experts on autism spectrum disorder, including the study authors, attribute the increase mostly to the different data collection processes in each of the studies, as opposed to a true rising prevalence of autism among children.
For instance, the CDC study focused on 8-year-olds in 11 communities; whereas the government study focused on 3-to-17-year-olds across the country.
One important point highlighted in the study is that the increased numbers may be partially attributed to increased awareness of autism by pediatricians, parents and teachers, says Dr. Laura Mulford, manager of the autism treatment program at Advocate Children’s Hospital.
“This awareness is critical to making sure we do not miss children, especially early on in development,” Dr. Mulford says. “Early identification of ASD is essential to ensure that children can access specialized interventions that can help optimize outcomes.”
About the Author
Jaimie Oh, health enews contributor, is regional manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Health Care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has nearly a decade of experience working in publishing, strategic communications and marketing. Outside of work, Jaimie trains for marathons with the goal of running 50 races before she turns 50 years old.