US Autism Rates Increase Again

Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump
Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that US autism rates have increased — again, noting that now 1 in every 68 US kids have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum disorder. The report highlights the American Academy of Pediatrics ongoing and urgent effort to get culturally sensitive screening and access to effective interventions for all children.

In a statement to the press, Dr. James Perrin, the president of the AAP, said, “The AAP is working to help make pediatric practices more equipped to provide ongoing care to the many children with autism. These rising rates certainly underscore the need to improve our understanding of the causes of autism and to work on prevention.” The CDC collected the information as part of the Autism and Development Disabilities Monitoring Network and the results were published earlier today as part of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The data collected indicates the number of 8-year-old children diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum in 2010.

The data reveals that the prevalence of autism has risen 30 percent in the past two years. Susan Hyman, chair of the AAP’s autism subcommittee said, “The prevalence data makes even more important the Academy’s focus on early screening, identification and referral for intervention for allchildren, and our work to support collaborative medical homes for children, youth and adults with autism spectrum disorder. It’s critical that we as a society do not become numb to these numbers. They remind us of the work we need to do in educating clinicians and parents in effective interventions for all children, including those with developmental disabilities.”

Currently, the AAP advocates for early screening for autism spectrum disorders, early diagnosis and a timely referral for effective intervention, coordinated through the medical home. According to research, early intervention strategies can considerably improve a child’s long-term development and social behaviors. As part of their commitment, the AAP is working to provide 62,000 member pediatricians with tools and training necessary to appropriately identify children with autism spectrum disorders and refer them to the treatments and services they’ll need.

Do the latest findings shock you? What do you think can be done to help children and families?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Autism: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Is This the Earliest Sign of Autism?

Baby Milestones: What Baby Will Do When