CDC Survey Finds Autism On The Rise
Autism may affect as many as 1 in 45 American children, according to a new government survey.
In a report released Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics said that as of 2014, some 2.24 percent of American kids had received a diagnosis on the spectrum.
The figures come from the National Health Interview Survey, which last year asked 11,000 parents of kids ages 3 to 17 across the country if they were ever told by a doctor or health professional that their child had autism, intellectual disability or other developmental disabilities.
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By comparison, similar data from 2011 to 2013 found an autism prevalence rate of 1.25 percent, the report indicated.
Despite a large uptick in reported autism prevalence, however, researchers with the National Center for Health Statistics said the variation is likely due in part to changes in the way the survey asked about autism.
“In previous years, it is likely that some parents of children diagnosed with ASD reported this developmental disability as other DD instead of, or in addition to, ASD,” they wrote.
The survey is also just one of a handful of methods the government uses to measure autism prevalence. Findings from a different study — which regularly assesses medical and educational records of 8-year-olds in various pockets of the country — are still considered the CDC’s official estimate. That study most recently concluded that 1 in 68 American children have autism.
Aside from autism, the 2014 survey found that the prevalence of intellectual disability remained largely unchanged at 1.1 percent. However, the number of children with other developmental disabilities declined sharply to 3.57 percent in 2014, down from 4.84 percent in the 2011 to 2013 data, the report said.
When combined, researchers said the prevalence of children with all developmental disabilities “did not differ significantly” in the 2014 survey compared to the previous years.