CDC: 1 in 68 children has autism spectrum disorder

CDC: 1 in 68 children has autism spectrum disorder

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - A new estimate on the number of children in the United States with autism spectrum disorders shows roughly a 30 percent increase between 2008 and 2010.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 68  8-year-olds have been identified with ASD with 1 in 45 children in New Jersey with the disorders.

The cause for the increase is not known but experts say better awareness and diagnosis may explain the rise.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities defined by significant impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of unusual behaviors and interests, according to the CDC. Many people with ASDs also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to different sensations.

The report "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children Aged 8 Years - Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010," was published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study also found that almost half of children with ASD have average or above average intellectual ability and is five times more common among boys than girls.

Researchers compiled data from community sources that educate, diagnose, treat and/or provide services to children with development disabilities.

"The most important thing for parents to do is to act early when there is a concern about a child's development," said Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D., chief of CDC's Developmental Disabilities Branch. "If you have a concern about how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, take action. Don't wait."

The CDC is launching a campaign for parents and the caregivers of children called 'Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive' intended to help families identify delays in development as early as possible.

An ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2 but most children are diagnosed after age 4, according to the CDC.

RESOURCES:

For read the full report, visit CDC.gov/autism

Also read 10 Things to Know About New Autism Data

You can also check out Autism Speaks' reaction to the new data
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